The Project Gutenberg eBook of The History of Painting in Italy, Vol. 5 (of 6)

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Title: The History of Painting in Italy, Vol. 5 (of 6)

Author: Luigi Lanzi

Translator: Thomas Roscoe

Release date: June 14, 2012 [eBook #39996]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Barbara Tozier, Bill Tozier, Carol Ann Brown,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


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from the period of the revival of
to the end of the eighteenth century:

From the Original Italian
of the




printed for
stationers'-hall court, ludgate street.


J. M'Creery, Tooks Court,
Chancery Lane, London.





Epoch I. The ancient masters 6
Epoch II. Various styles, from the time of Francia to that of the Caracci 50
Epoch III. The Caracci, their scholars and their successors, until the time of Cignani 96
Epoch IV. Pasinelli, and in particular Cignani, cause a change in the style of Bolognese painting. The Clementine academy and its members 217
Epoch I. The ancient masters 281
Epoch II. Artists of Ferrara, from the time of Alfonso I. till Alfonso II., last of the Este family in Ferrara, who emulate the best Italian styles 301
Epoch III. The artists of Ferrara borrow different styles from the Bolognese school—Decline of the art, and an academy instituted in its support 328
[Pg ii]
Epoch I. The ancient masters 359
Epoch II. Perino and his followers 369
Epoch III. The art relapses for some time, and is re-invigorated by the works of Paggi and some foreigners 392
Epoch IV. The Roman and Parmesan succeed to the native style—Establishment of an academy 424
Epoch I. Dawn and progress of the art until the sixteenth century 447
Epoch II. Painters of the seventeenth century, and first establishment of the academy 466
Epoch III. School of Beaumont, and restoration of the academy 483

[Pg 1]




During the progress of the present work, it has been observed that the fame of the art, in common with that of letters and of arms, has been transferred from place to place; and that wherever it fixed its seat, its influence tended to the perfection of some branch of painting, which by preceding artists had been less studied, or less understood. Towards the close of the sixteenth century, indeed, there seemed not to be left in nature, any kind of beauty, in its outward forms or aspect, that had not been admired and represented by some great master; insomuch that the artist, however ambitious, was compelled, as an imitator of nature, to become, likewise, an imitator of the best masters; while the discovery of new styles depended upon a more or less skilful combination of the old. Thus the sole career that remained open for the display of human genius was that of imitation; as it appeared impossible to design figures more [Pg 2]masterly than those of Bonarruoti or Da Vinci, to express them with more grace than Raffaello, with more animated colours than those of Titian, with more lively motions than those of Tintoretto, or to give them a richer drapery and ornaments than Paul Veronese; to present them to the eye at every degree of distance, and in perspective, with more art, more fulness, and more enchanting power than fell to the genius of Coreggio. Accordingly the path of imitation was at that time pursued by every school, though with very little method. Each of these was almost wholly subservient to its prototype; nor was it distinguished in any other portion of the art than that by which its master had surpassed all competitors. Even in this portion, the distinction of these followers consisted only in copying the same figures, and executing them in a more hasty and capricious manner, or at all events, in adapting them out of place. Those devoted to Raffaello were sure to exaggerate the ideal in every picture: the same in regard to anatomy in those of Michelangiolo: while misplaced vivacity and foreshortening were repeated in the most judicious historic pieces of the Venetians and the Lombards.

A few, indeed, there were, as we have noticed, in every place, who rose conspicuous above those popular prejudices and that ignorance which obscured Italy, and whose aim was to select from the masters of different states the chief merit of each; a method of which the Campi of Cremona [Pg 3]more especially furnished commendable examples. Yet these artists being unequal in point of genius and learning, broken into different schools, separated by private interests, accustomed to direct their pupils only in the exact path they themselves trod, and always confined within the limits of their native province, failed to instruct Italy, or at least to propagate the method of correct and laudable imitation. This honour was reserved for Bologna, whose destiny was declared to be the art of teaching, as governing was said to be that of Rome; and it was not the work of an academy, but of a single house. Gifted with genius, intent upon attaining the secrets more than the stipends of their art, and unanimous in their resolves, the family of the Caracci discovered the true style of imitation. First, they inculcated it through the neighbouring state of Romagna, whence it was communicated to the rest of Italy; so that in a little while nearly the whole country was filled with its reputation. The result of their learning went to shew that the artist ought to divide his studies between nature and art, and that he should alternately keep each in view, selecting only, according to his natural talents and disposition, what was most enviable in both. By such means, that school, which appeared last in the series that flourished, became the first to instruct the age; and what it had acquired from each it afterwards taught to all: a school which, until that period, had assumed no form or character to distinguish [Pg 4]it from others, but which subsequently produced almost as many new manners, as the individuals of the family and their pupils. The mind, like the pen, would gladly arrive at that fortunate epoch; aiming at the most compendious ways to reach it, and studiously avoiding whatever may impede or divert its course. Let Malvasia exclaim against Vasari as much as he pleases: let him vent his indignation upon his prints, in which Bagnacavallo appears with a goat's physiognomy, when he was entitled to that of a gentleman: let him farther vituperate his writings, in which Bolognese professors are either omitted, dismissed with faint praise, or blamed, until one Mastro Amico and one Mastro Biagio fall under his lash:—to attempt to reconcile or to aggravate such feuds will form little part of my task. Concerning this author I have sufficiently treated in other places; though I shall not scruple to correct, or to supply his information in case oaf need, on the authority of several modern writers.[1] Nor shall I fail to point out in Malvasia [Pg 5]occasional errors in sound criticism, which seem to have escaped him in the effervescence of that bitter controversy. The reader will become aware of them even in the first epoch; in treating which, agreeably to my own method, I shall describe the origin and early progress of this eminent school. Together with the Bolognese, I shall also give an account of many professors of Romagna, reserving a few, however, for a place in the Ferrarese School, in which they shone either as disciples or as masters.

[1] No Italian school has been described by abler pens. The Co. Canon. Malvasia was a real man of letters; and his life has been written by Crespi. His two volumes, entitled Felsina Pittrice, will continue to supply an[TN1] abundance of valuable information, collected by the pupils of the Caracci, to whom he was known, and by whom he was assisted in this work; charged, however, with a degree of patriotic zeal at times too fervid.

Crespi and Zanotti were his continuators, whose merits are considered in the last epoch. To these volumes is added the work entitled, "Pitture, Sculture, e Architetture di Bologna," of which the latest editions have been supplied with some very valuable notices, (drawn also from MSS.) by the Ab. Bianconi, already commended by us, and by Sig. Marcello Oretti, a very diligent collector of pictoric anecdotes, as well as by other persons. I cite this work under the title of the Guide of Bologna; in addition to which I mention in Romagna that of Ravenna by Beltrami, that of Rimini by Costa, and of Pesaro by Becci, which is farther illustrated by observations upon the chief paintings at Pesaro, and a dissertation upon the art; both very ably treated by the pen of Sig. Canon. Lazzarini.

[Pg 6]



The Ancients.

The new Guide of Bologna, published in the year 1782, directs our attention to a number of figures, in particular those of the Virgin, which, on the strength of ancient documents, are to be assigned to ages anterior to the twelfth century. Of some of these we find the authors' names indicated; and it forms, perhaps, the peculiar boast of Bologna to claim three of them during the twelfth century: one Guido, one Ventura, and one Ursone, of whom there exist memorials as late back as 1248. Most part, however, are from unknown hands, and so well executed, that we are justified in suspecting that they must have been retouched about the times of Lippo Dalmasio, to whose style a few of them bear considerable resemblance. Yet not so with others; more especially a specimen in San Pietro, which I consider to be one of the most ancient preserved in Italy. But the finest monument of painting possessed by Bologna, at once the most unique and untouched, is the Catino of San Stefano, on which is figured the Adoration of the Lamb of [Pg 7]God, described in the Apocalypse; and below this are several scriptural histories; as the Birth of our Lord, his Epiphany, the Dispute, and similar subjects. The author was either Greek, or rather a scholar of those Greeks who ornamented the church of St. Mark in Venice with their mosaics; the manner much resembling theirs in its rude design, the spareness of the limbs, and in the distribution of the colours. It is besides, certain, that these Greeks educated several artists for Italy, and among others the founder of the Ferrarese School, of whom more in its appropriate place. However this may be, the painter exhibits traces that differ from those mosaic workers, such as the flow of the beard, the shape of the garments, and a taste less bent on thronging his compositions. And in respect to his age, it is apparent it must have been between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, from the form of the characters, collated with other writings belonging to the same period.

Entering upon the age of Giotto, the most disputed of all, on account of the Florentines having declared themselves the tutors of the Bolognese, and the aversion of the latter to admit that they have been instructed by the Florentines;—I decline to dwell upon their writings, in which the heat of controversy has effectually obscured the candour of real history. I shall rather gather light from the figures of the trecentisti dispersed throughout the city and all parts of Romagna, and from the ample collections which are to be [Pg 8]seen in various places. Such is that of the Padri Classensi at Ravenna, that of the Institute at Bologna, and in the same place one at the Malvezzi palace, where the pictures of the ancient masters are exhibited in long series, with their names; not always inscribed, indeed, in ancient character, nor always equally genuine; but still calculated to reflect honour upon the noble family that made the collection. In all these I discovered paintings, some manifestly Greek; some indisputably Giottesque; certain others of Venetian style; and not a few in a manner which I never saw, except in Bologna. They possess a body of colouring, a taste in perspective, a method of designing and draping the figures, not met with in any other cities; as for instance, in several places I saw scripture histories, where the Redeemer invariably appears arrayed in a red mantle; while other characters appear in garments trimmed in a certain novel style with gilt borders; trifles in themselves, yet not apparent in any other school. From similar observations we seem to be justified in concluding that the Bolognese of that age likewise had a school of their own, not indeed so elegant, nor so celebrated, but nevertheless peculiar, and so to say, municipal, derived from ancient masters of mosaic, and also from those in miniature.

On this head, notwithstanding our proposed brevity, I must here refer to the words of Baldinucci in his notices of the miniature painter, Franco: "After Giotto, that very celebrated Florentine [Pg 9]painter, had discovered his novel and fine method by which he gained the name of the first restorer of the art of painting, or rather to have raised it from utter extinction; and after he had acquired with industrious diligence that fine mode of painting which is called di minio,[2] which for the most part consists in colouring very diminutive figures; many others also applied themselves to the like art, and soon became illustrious. One of these was Oderigi d'Agubbio, concerning whom we have spoken in his proper place among the disciples of Cimabue. We discovered that this Oderigi, as we are assured by Vellutello in his comment upon Dante, in the eleventh canto of the Purgatorio,[3] was master in the art to Franco Bolognese, [Pg 10]which assertion acquires great credit from his having worked much in miniature in the city of Bologna, according to these words that I find said of him by Benvenuto da Imola, a contemporary of Petrarch, in his comment upon Dante: 'Iste Odorisius fuit magnus miniator in civitate Bononiæ, qui erat valde vanus jactator artis suæ.' From this Franco, according to the opinion of Malvasia, the most noble and ever glorious city of Bologna received the first seeds of the beautiful art of painting."

With this narrative does the author proceed, like a careful culturist, gently sprinkling with refreshing drops his pictoric tree, whose seed he had shortly before planted, in order to trace the whole derivation of early artists from the leading stock of Cimabue. It has elsewhere been observed that this famous tree can boast no root in history; that it sprung out of idle conjectures, put together as an answer to the Felsina Pittrice of Malvasia, in which the Bolognese School is made to appear, as it were, autoctona, derived only from itself. Now Baldinucci, in order to give its origin to Florence, would persuade us that Oderigi, a miniaturist, and master of Franco, the first painter at Bologna on the revival of the arts, had actually been a disciple of Cimabue. His argument amounts to this: that Dante, Giotto, and Oderigi, being known to have lived on the most intimate terms together, and all three greatly devoted to the fine arts, must have contracted their friendship in the school of Cimabue; [Pg 11]as if such an intimacy might not have sprung up at any other time or place amongst three men who travelled. It is besides difficult to believe that Oderigi, ambitious of the fame of a miniaturist in ornamenting books, should have applied to Cimabue, who in those times was not the best designer of figures, though the most eminent painter in fresco, and of grand figures.

A more probable supposition, therefore, is that Oderigi acquired the art from the miniaturists, who then greatly abounded in Italy, and carried it to further perfection by his own design. Neither are the epochs themselves, fixed upon by Baldinucci, in favour of his system. He would have it that Giotto, at ten years of age, being about the year 1286, began to design in the school of Cimabue, when the latter had attained his forty-sixth year; nor could Oderigi have been any younger, whose death happened about 1299, one year before that of Cimabue, his equal in reputation, and in the dignity of the pupil, who already surpassed the master. How difficult then to persuade ourselves that a genius, described by Dante as lofty and full of vaunting, should demean himself by deigning to design at the school of a contemporary, near the seat of a mere child; and subsequently surviving only thirteen years, should acquire the fame of the first miniaturist of his age, besides forming the mind of a pupil superior to himself. It is no less incredible that Oderigi, after having seen Giotto's specimens in miniature, [Pg 12]"should in a short time become famous." Giotto, in 1298, when twenty-two years of age, was at Rome in the service of the pope; where, observes Baldinucci, he also illuminated a book for the Car. Stefaneschi; a circumstance not mentioned by Vasari, nor supported by any historical document. Yet taking all this for granted, what length of time is afforded for Oderigi to display his powers, on the strength of seeing Giotto's models; for Oderigi, who having been already some time before deceased, was found by Dante in purgatory, according to Baldinucci's computation, in the year 1300?

I therefore refer this miniaturist to the Bolognese School, most probably as a disciple, assuredly as a master; and, on the authority of Vellutello, as the master of Franco, both a miniaturist and a painter. Franco is the first among the Bolognese who instructed many pupils; and he is almost deserving the name of the Giotto of this school. Nevertheless he approached only at considerable distance, the Giotto of Florence, as far as we can judge from the few relics which are now pointed out as his in the Malvezzi museum. The most undoubted specimen is one of the Virgin, seated on a throne, bearing the date of 1313; a production that may compare with the works of Cimabue, or of Guido da Siena. There are also two diminutive paintings, displaying much grace, and similar miniatures, ascribed to the same hand.

[Pg 13]The most eminent pupils educated by Franco in his school, according to Malvasia, are by name, Vitale, Lorenzo, Simone, Jacopo, Cristoforo; specimens of whose paintings in fresco are still seen at the Madonna di Mezzaratta. This church, in respect to the Bolognese, exhibits the same splendor as the Campo Santo of Pisa, in relation to the Florentine School; a studio in which the most distinguished trecentisti who flourished in the adjacent parts, competed for celebrity. They cannot, indeed, boast all the simplicity, the elegance, the happy distribution, which form the excellence of the Giottesque; but they display a fancy, fire, and method of colouring, which led Bonarruoti and the Caracci, considering the times in which they lived, not to undervalue them; insomuch that, on their shewing signs of decay, these artists took measures for their preservation. In the forementioned church, then, besides the pupils of Franco already named, Galasso of Ferrara, and an unknown imitator of the style of Giotto, asserted by Lamo in his MS. to have been Giotto himself, painted, at different times, histories from the Old and New Testament. I am inclined rather to pronounce the unknown artist to be Giotto's imitator; both because Vasari, in Mezzaratta, makes no mention of Giotto, and because, if the latter had painted, he would have ranked with the most eminent, and would have been selected to pursue his labours, not in that corner ornamented with paintings in the Florentine style, but in some more imposing situation.

[Pg 14]I ought not to omit to mention in this place, that Giotto employed himself at Bologna. There is one of his altar-pieces still preserved at San Antonio with the superscription of Magister Ioctus de Florentia. We, moreover, learn from Vasari that Puccio Capanna, a Florentine, and Ottaviano da Faenza, with one Pace da Faenza, all pupils of Giotto, pursued their labours more or less at Bologna. Of these, if I mistake not, there are occasional specimens still to be met with in collections and in churches. Nor are there wanting works of the successors of Taddeo Gaddi, one of the school of Giotto, which, as I have seen great numbers in Florence, I have been able to distinguish with little difficulty among specimens of this other school. Besides this style, another was introduced into Bologna from Florence, that of Orcagna, whose Novissimi of S. Maria Novella were almost copied in a chapel of San Petronio, painted after the year 1400; the same edifice which Vasari on the strength of popular tradition, has asserted, was ornamented by Buffalmacco. From this information, we are brought to conclude that the Florentines exercised an influence over the art, even in Bologna; nor can I commend Malvasia, who, in recounting the progress of his school, gives them no place, nor makes them any acknowledgment. Their models, which at that period were the most excellent in the art, there is reason to suppose, may in those times have afforded assistance to the young Bolognese artists, as those [Pg 15]of the school of Caracci, in another age, instructed the youth of Florence. It is time, however, to return to the pictures of Mezzaratta.

The authors of those just recorded, were, some of them, contemporary with the disciples of Giotto; others flourished subsequent to them; nor is there any name more ancient than that of Vital da Bologna, called dalle Madonne, of whom there are accounts from 1320 till the year 1345. This artist, who painted for that church a picture of the Nativity, and from whose hand one of S. Benedetto with other saints is seen in the Malvezzi palace, had more dryness of design than belonged to the disciples of Giotto at that period; and he employed compositions that differed from that school, so extremely tenacious of Giotto's ideas. If Baldinucci ventured to assert of him that his style, in every particular, agrees with that of his Florentine contemporaries, he wrote on the faith of others; a sufficient reason with him for affirming that he was pupil to Giotto, or to some one of his disciples. I would not venture so far; but rather, to judge from the hand of Vitale, which Baldi, in his Biblioteca Bolognese, entitles "manum elimatissimam," from the dryness of design, and from his almost exclusive custom of painting Madonnas, I argue that he had not departed much from the example set by Franco, more of a miniaturist than a painter, and that his school could not have been that school more elevated, varied, and rich in ideas, formed by Giotto.

[Pg 16]Lorenzo, an artist, as is elsewhere observed, of Venice more probably than of Bologna,[4] who produced the history of Daniel, on which he inscribed his name, painted during the same period, and attempted copious compositions. He was greatly inferior to the Memmi, to the Laurati, to the Gaddi, though he is represented as their equal in reputation by Malvasia. He betrays the infancy of the art, no less in point of design than in the expressions of his countenances, whose grief sometimes provokes a smile; and in his forced and extravagant attitudes in the manner of the Greeks. Hence it is here out of the question to mention Giotto, in whose school, cautiously avoiding every kind of extravagance, there predominates a certain gravity and repose, occasionally amounting to coldness; described by the author of the Bolognese Guide as the statuary manner; and it is one of those marks by which to distinguish that school from others of the same age.

At a later period flourished Galasso, who is to be sought for in the list of artists of Ferrara, along with the three supposed disciples of Vitale; namely, Cristoforo, Simone, and Jacopo; all of whom, in mature age, were engaged in pictures to decorate the church at Mezzaratta, which were completed in 1404. Vasari writes that he is uncertain whether Cristoforo belonged to Ferrara, or da Modena; and whilst the two cities were disputing the honour, the Bolognese historians, Baldi, Masini, [Pg 17]and Bumaldo, adjusted the difference by referring him to their own Felsina. For me his country may remain matter of doubt, though not so the school in which he flourished; inasmuch as he certainly resided, and painted a great deal, both on altar-pieces and on walls, at Bologna. At that period, he must have attracted the largest share of applause; since to him was committed the figure of the altar, which is still in existence, with his name. The Signori Malvezzi, likewise, are in possession of one of his altar-pieces, abounding with figures of saints, and divided into ten compartments. The design of these figures is rude, the colouring languid; but the whole displays a taste assuredly not derived from the Florentines, and this is the principal difficulty in the question.

Simone, most commonly called in Bologna Da Crocifissi, was eminent in these sacred subjects. At S. Stefano, and other churches, he has exhibited several fine specimens, by no means incorrect in the naked figure, with a most devotional cast of features, extended arms, and a drapery of various colours. They resemble Giotto's in point of colouring, and in the posture of the feet, one of which is placed over the other, but in other respects they approach nearer the more ancient. I have seen also some Madonnas painted by him; sometimes in a sitting posture, at others in half-size, with drapery and with hands in the manner of the Greek paintings. In features, however, and in the attitudes, [Pg 18]they are both carefully studied and commendable for those times; a specimen of which is still to be seen at S. Michele in Bosco.

Among the Bolognese trecentisti Jacopo Avanzi is the most distinguished. He produced the chief part of the histories at the church of Mezzaratta, many in conjunction with Simone, and a few of them alone; as the miracle of the Probation, at the bottom of which he wrote Jacobus pinxit. He appears to have employed himself with most success in the chapel of S. Jacopo al Santo, at Padua, where, in some very spirited figures, representing some exploit of arms, he may be said to have conformed his style pretty nearly to the Giottesque; and even in some measure to have surpassed Giotto, who was not skilful in heroic subjects. His masterpiece seems to have been the triumphs painted in a saloon at Verona, a work commended by Mantegna himself as an excellent production. He subscribed his name sometimes Jacobus Pauli; which has led me to doubt whether he was not originally from Venice, and the same artist who, together with Paolo his father, and his brother Giovanni, painted the ancient altar-piece of San Marco at that place. The time exactly favours such a supposition; the resemblance between the countenances in the paintings at S. Marco and at the Mezzaratta, farther confirms it; nor can I easily persuade myself that Avanzi would have entitled himself Jacobus Pauli, had there flourished another artist at the same period, likely, from similarity of signatures, to create a [Pg 19]mistake. In the Notizia of Morelli, p. 5, he is called Jacomo Davanzo, a Paduan, or Veronese, or as some maintain a Bolognese, words which may create a doubt of the real place of his birth. Without entering on such a question, I shall only observe, that I incline to believe that his most fixed domicile, at least towards the close of his days, was at Bologna; and it has already been remarked, that some artists were accustomed to assume their place of residence for a surname. It would seem that two painters of this age derive their parentage from him: one who on an altar-piece at S. Michele in Bosco signs himself Petrus Jacobi, and the same Orazio di Jacopo mentioned by Malvasia. At all events it is observable in each school, that, where an artist was the son of a painter, he gladly adopted his father's name as a sort of support and recommendation of his own. One Giovanni of Bologna, unknown in his own country, has left at Venice a painting of S. Cristoforo, in the school of the Merchants at S. Maria dell'Orto, to which he adds his name, though without date; and, from his ancient manner, we are authorized to believe that he really belongs to the place which is here assigned him.

Lippo di Dalmasio, formerly believed to be a Carmelite friar, until the Turin edition of Baldinucci proved that he had died married, sprung from the school of Vitale, and was named Lippo dalle Madonne. It is not true, as reported, that he instructed the Beata Caterina Vigri in the art, [Pg 20]by whom there remain some miniatures, and an infant Christ painted on panel. Lippo's manner scarcely varies from the ancient, except perhaps in better harmony of tints and flow of drapery; to which last, however, he adds fringes of gold lace tolerably wide, a practice very generally prevalent in the early part of the fifteenth century. His heads are beautiful and novel, more particularly in several Madonnas, which Guido Reni never ceased to admire, being in the habit of declaring that Lippo must have been indebted to some supernatural power for his exhibition in one countenance of all the majesty, the sanctity, and the sweetness of the holy mother, and that in this view he had not been equalled by any modern. Such is the account given by Malvasia, who relates it, he adds, as he heard it. He moreover assures us, on the authority of Guido, that Lippo painted several histories of Elias in fresco, with great spirit; while, on the experience of Tiarini, he would persuade us that he painted in oil at S. Procolo in via S. Stefano, and in private houses; on which point he impugns the commonly received opinion respecting Antonello, examined by us more than once. Contemporary with Lippo must have flourished Maso da Bologna, painter of the ancient cupola of the cathedral.

Subsequent to 1409, the latest epoch of the paintings of Lippo, the Bolognese School began to decline; nor could it well be otherwise. Dalmatio, an instructor of youth, was not by profession [Pg 21]a painter of history; and, as portrait painters never particularly promoted the progress of any school, so on his part he conferred little benefit on his own. This decline has been attributed to some specimens of art brought from Constantinople, overcharged with dark lines in the contours and folds, and in the remaining parts resembling rather the dryness and inelegance of the Greek mosaic-workers, than the softness and grace then sought to be introduced by the most eminent Italians in the art. Copies of these were eagerly inquired for in Bologna, and in all adjacent cities, which produced that abundance of them, still to be seen in the sale shops and private houses throughout those districts, besides several in the city and state of Venice.[5] But, in these instances, they were [Pg 22]only copied; in Bologna they were imitated likewise by several pupils of Lippo, who, either in part or altogether, adopted that style in their own compositions. One Lianori, usually inscribing his name Petrus Joannis, and known by some works interspersed in different churches and collections, is most accused of this extravagance; an Orazio di Jacopo, (perhaps dell'Avanzi) of whom there remains a portrait of S. Bernardino, at the church of the Osservanza; a Severo da Bologna, to whom is ascribed a rude altar-piece, in the Malvezzi Museum; with several others, either little known or unmentioned, whose names I am not surprised should be omitted by Vasari, who, in the same way, passes over the least distinguished of his own country. It is true, he makes mention of one Galante da Bologna, who, he avers, designed better than Lippo, his master; but in this he is still taken to task by Malvasia, who includes Galante among the inferior pupils of Dalmasio.

Nevertheless, the germ of good painting was not wanting, as far as the times permitted it to exist, both in Bologna and throughout Romagna. [Pg 23]Malvasia commends one Jacopo Ripanda, who long flourished at Rome, where, as is commemorated by Volterrano, he began to design the bassi-relievi of the Trajan Column; one Ercole, a Bolognese, who somewhat improved the symmetry of the human figure; one Bombologno, a carver of crucifixes, like Simone, but of more refined composition. He more particularly celebrates a Michel di Matteo, or Michel Lambertini; in whose commendation it may be enough to state, that Albano praised one of his pictures, supposed to be in oil, completed in 1443, for the fish-market, and even preferred it for its softness to those of Francia. The few which we still possess in our own times, both at the churches of S. Pietro and S. Jacopo, might be put in competition with the contemporary works of almost any master.

But the artist who produced an epoch in his school is Marco Zoppo, who having transferred his education under Lippo to the studio of Squarcione, rose to equal eminence with Pizzolo and Dario da Trevigi; and, like them, vied with the genius of Mantegna, and gave a farther spur to his exertions. He also studied some time in the Venetian School, where he painted for the Osservanti, at Pesaro, a picture of the Virgin on a Throne, crowned, with S. Giovanni the Baptist, San Francesco, and other saints, and signed it Marco Zoppo da Bologna Dip. in Vinexia, 1471. This is the most celebrated production which he left behind him; from which, and a few other [Pg 24]pieces in the same church, and at Bologna, we may gather some idea of his style. The composition is that common to the quattrocentisti, particularly the Venetians, and which he probably introduced into Bologna, a style which continued to the time of Francia and his school, for the most part unvaried, except in the addition of some cherub to the steps of the throne, sometimes with a harp, and sometimes without. It is not a free and graceful style, like that of Mantegna, but rather coarse, particularly in the drawing of the feet; yet less rectilinear in the folds, and bolder, and more harmonious, perhaps, in the selection of the colours. The fleshes are as much studied as in Signorelli, and in others of the same age; while the figures and the accessories are conducted with the most finished care. Marco was, likewise, a fine decorator of façades, in which kind of painting he was assisted by his companion and imitator, Jacopo Forti, to whose hand is ascribed a Madonna, painted on the wall, at the church of S. Tommaso, in Mercato. In the Malvezzi collection there is also attributed to Jacopo a Deposition of the Saviour from the Cross; a work which does not keep pace with the progressive improvements of that age. The same remark will apply to a great number of others, produced about the same period, in the same city, which, towards the close of the century, displayed a striking deficiency in good artists. It was owing to this circumstance that Gio. Bentivoglio, then master of Bologna, wishing [Pg 25]to ornament his palace, which, had fortune favoured him, would one day have become that of all Romagna, invited a number of artists from Ferrara and Modena, who introduced a better taste into Bologna, besides affording an occasion for the grand genius of Francia to develop itself likewise in the art of painting, as we shall proceed to shew.

This artist, whose real name was Francesco Raibolini, was, according to Malvasia, esteemed and celebrated as the first man of that age; and he might have added, in Bologna, where many so considered him; being there, as is attested by Vasari, held in the estimation of a god. The truth is, that he had a consummate genius for working in gold; on which account the medals and coins taken with his moulds rivalled those of Caradosso, the Milanese; and he was also an excellent painter, in that style which is termed modern antique, as may be gathered from a great number of collections, where his Madonnas rank at the side of those of Pietro Perugino and Gian Bellini. Raffaello, too, compares him with them, and even greater artists, in a letter dated 1508, edited by Malvasia, in which he praises his Madonnas, "never having beheld any more beautiful, more devotional in their expression, and more finely composed by any artist." His manner is nearly between that of these two heads of their schools, and participates in the excellence of both; it boasts Perugino's choiceness and tone of colours; while, [Pg 26]in the fulness of its outlines, in the skill of the folding, and ample flow of the draperies, it bears greater resemblance to Bellini. His heads, however, do not equal the grace and sweetness of the former; though he is more dignified and varied than the latter. In the accessories of his landscapes he rivals both; but in landscape itself, and in the splendor of his architecture, he is inferior to them. In the composition of his pictures he is less fond of placing the divine infant in the bosom of the Virgin than upon a distinct ground, in the ancient manner of his school; and he sometimes adds to them some half figures of saints, as was customary with the Venetians of that period. On the whole, however, he approaches nearer to the Roman School; and, not unfrequently, as is noticed by Malvasia, his Madonnas have been ascribed by less expert judges to Pietro Perugino. He likewise produced works in fresco at Bologna, commended by Vasari; and both there and elsewhere are many of his altar-pieces yet remaining, displaying figures of larger dimensions than those usually painted by Bellini and Perugino; the peculiar merit of the Bolognese School, and by degrees extended to others, augmenting at once the grandeur of painting and of the temples it adorned.

But the chief praise due to him yet remains to be recorded, and this is, that he did not begin to exercise his pencil until he had arrived at manhood, and, in the course of a few years, displayed the rare example of becoming a scholar and a master, [Pg 27]able to compete with the best artists of Ferrara and Modena. These, as we have mentioned, were invited by Gio. Bentivoglio, in order to decorate his palace. There, too, Francia was employed; and he was afterwards commissioned to paint the altar-piece of the Bentivogli chapel, in 1490, where he signed himself Franciscus Francia Aurifex, as much as to imply that he belonged to the goldsmith's art, not to that of painting. Nevertheless, that work is a beautiful specimen, displaying the most finished delicacy of art in every individual figure and ornament, especially in the arabesque pilasters, in the Mantegna manner. In process of time he enlarged his style; a circumstance that induced historians to make a distinction between his first and second manner. Cavazzoni, who wrote respecting the Madonnas of Bologna, wishes to persuade us that Raffaello himself had availed himself of Francia's models, in order to dilate that dry manner which he imbibed from Perugino. We shall award this glory to the genius of Raffaello, whose youthful performances at San Severo of Perugia, display a greater degree of softness than those of his master and of Francia; and after his genius, to the examples of F. Bartolommeo della Porta, and of Michelangiolo; leaving, we fear, no room to include the name of Francia. When Raffaello, at Rome, was regarded rather in the light of an angel than a man, and had already executed some works at Bologna, he began a correspondence with Francia, urged to it by his letters; [Pg 28]Raffaello became his friend; and, on sending to Bologna his picture of S. Cecilia, he intreated him, on discovering any error in it, to correct it; an instance of modesty in our Apelles, more to be admired even than his paintings. This occurred in 1518, in which year Vasari closes his life of Francia, who he declares died with excess of passion, on first beholding that grand performance. Malvasia, however, refutes him, by proving Francia to "have lived many years afterwards, and when aged and declining, even to have changed his manner;" and in what way, except upon the models of Raffaello? In his new manner he painted and exhibited, in a chamber of the Mint, his celebrated piece of S. Sebastian, which, according to a tradition handed from the Caracci to Albano, and from the latter to Malvasia, served as a studio for the Bolognese pupils, who copied its proportions with as much zeal as the ancients would have done those of a statue of Polycletes, or the moderns of the Apollo, or of the supposed Antinous of Belvidere. Albani has added that Francia, on perceiving the concourse of people increase round his picture, and diminish round the St. Cecilia of Raffaello, then dead, apprehensive lest they should suspect him of having executed and exhibited his own in competition with such an artist, instantly removed and placed it in the church of the Misericordia, where, at this time, there remains a copy of it. The precise year of his decease, hitherto unknown, has been communicated to me by the Sig. Cav. Ratti, who found [Pg 29]on an ancient drawing of a female saint, now in possession of Sig. Tommaso Bernardi, a noble of Lucca, a memorandum of this event having occurred on the seventh day of April, 1533.

Francia, in addition to his cousin Giulio, who devoted himself but little to painting, gave instructions in the art to his own son of the name of Giacomo. It is often doubtful, as we find in the Gallery of the princes Giustiniani, whether such a Madonna is by the hand of Francesco Francia, or by that of his son, who, in similar pictures imitated closely his father's style, although, in Malvasia's judgment, he never equalled it. In works on a larger scale too, he is sometimes to be pronounced inferior, in comparison with his father, as in S. Vitale, at Bologna, where Francesco painted the cherubs round a Madonna, in his first manner, somewhat meagre, perhaps, but still beautiful and full of animated movements, while Giacomo drew the figures, representing a Nativity of our Lord, more soft in point of design, but with features less beautiful, and in attitudes and expressions bordering on extravagance. At other times, the son seems to have surpassed the father, as at S. Giovanni, of Parma, where there is no artist who would not wish to have produced that fine picture by Giacomo, marked with the year 1519, rather than the Deposition from the Cross, by Francesco. Elsewhere too, as in the picture of S. Giorgio, at the church of San Francesco in Bologna, he rivals, perhaps, the finest works by his father; insomuch [Pg 30]that this specimen was ascribed to the latter, until there was recently noticed the signature I., (meaning Jacobus) Francia, 1526. He appears, from the first, to have practised a design approaching that of the moderns; neither have I observed in his paintings such splendid gildings, nor such meagre arms, as for some time distinguished the elder Francia. He rather, in progress of time, continued to acquire a more free and easy manner, insomuch that a few of his Madonnas were more than once copied and engraved by Agostino Caracci. His heads were extremely animated, though generally less select, less studied, and less beautiful, than his father's. He had a son, named Giambatista, by whom there remains, at S. Rocco, an altar-piece, and a few other specimens, displaying mere mediocrity.

Among the foreign pupils of Francia, the Bolognese enumerated Lorenzo Costa, and, indeed, he thus ranks himself, by inscribing under the portrait of Gio. Bentivoglio, L. Costa Franciae discipulus. True it is, that such inscriptions, as I have frequently found, might come from another hand; or that, granting he wrote it, he may have done so more out of regard to such a man, than for the sake of acquainting the world, as Malvasia contends, that he had been his sole master. Vasari is of a different opinion, introducing him to us at Bologna as an established artist, already employed in several considerable cities, and bestowing the highest eulogium on his earliest production, the [Pg 31]S. Sebastiano at the church of S. Petronio, declaring it the best specimen in water-colours that had, till then, been seen in the city. Add to this, that Francia exhibited his first altar-piece in the Bentivogli chapel in 1490, a few years after he had devoted himself to the art; and there Costa placed the two lateral pictures, tolerably excellent in point of composition, and filled with those very spirited portraits of his in 1488. Now had he boasted only Francia for his master, of what rapid improvement must we suppose him to have been capable! Besides, would not his style almost invariably resemble that of Francia, at least in the works he produced at Bologna? Yet the contrary is the case; and from his less free, and sometimes ill drawn figures; from the coarser expression of his countenances, his more hard and dull colouring, and his abundance of architecture, with the taste shewn in his perspective, it is evident he must have studied elsewhere. Still I believe that he received the rudiments of his education in his own country; that then passing into Tuscany, he formed himself, not by the voice, but, as Vasari avers, upon the pictures of Lippi and Gozzoli; and that finally seeking Bologna, he painted for the Bentivogli, and resided also with Francia rather in quality of an assistant than a pupil. A farther proof I gather from Malvasia himself; that in the journals of Francesco, in which he read the names of two hundred and twenty pupils, he found no mention of Costa. In the rest, however, I concur; [Pg 32]as to his having availed himself of the works of Francia, in imitation of whom a number of Madonnas are seen in the collections at Bologna, much inferior to the paintings of the supposed master; but occasionally not unworthy of being compared with them. Such is an altar-piece, divided into several compartments, removed from Faenza into the Casa Ercolani; a production characterized by Crespi, in his annotations to Baruffaldi, as being executed "with a fervour, a refinement, softness, and a warmth which may be pronounced altogether Raffaellesque." He particularly shone in his countenances of men, as may be seen from those of the apostles at S. Petronio, and from his San Girolamo, which there offers the finest specimen of his art. He was less employed in his own country than in Bologna, though he gave several pupils to the former; among others the celebrated Dosso and Ercole of Ferrara. He mostly resided at Mantua, at which court he was highly appreciated, although Mantegna had been his immediate predecessor, and Giulio Romano succeeded him. I may refer to what I there wrote respecting this artist.

A less doubtful pupil of Francia's was Girolamo Marchesi da Cotignola. His portraits are much praised by Vasari, but his compositions much less so. He was by no means happy in all; and in particular one which he produced at Rimini, is severely criticised by the historian. There are various altar-pieces by him at Bologna and elsewhere, [Pg 33]all of the usual composition of the quattrocentisti, which goes to redeem his fault. One of these, exhibiting very beautiful perspective, is in possession of the Serviti at Pesaro, where the Virgin is seen on a throne, before which, in a kneeling posture, is the Marchesa Ginevra Sforza, with her son Constantius II.; nor is this the only specimen of his works conducted in the service of royal houses. The design is rather dry, but the colour very pleasing; the heads grand, the draperies well disposed; and in short, were it the only production of his hand, he would well deserve to rank among the most illustrious painters in the old style. That he obtained no reputation at Rome, or Naples, as Vasari observes, was owing to his arriving in those cities too late, namely, in the pontificate of Paul III.; so that his style being then regarded merely in the light of an article out of fashion, he was unable to make his way. He died during the same pontificate, between the interval of 1534 and 1549. Orlandi, who brings in the decease of Cotignola as early as 1518, is not only refuted by the above dates marked by Vasari, and, with slight difference, by Baruffaldi, but moreover by a picture of S. Girolamo at the church of the conventual friars of S. Marino, executed in 1520.

Amico Aspertini is enrolled by Malvasia (pp. 58, 59) in the school of Francia, a fact that Vasari did not choose to notice, being wholly bent on amusing posterity with a portrait of the person and manners of "Mastro Amico," who was indeed a compound [Pg 34]of pleasantry, eccentricity, and madness. He had adopted a maxim in painting, which in regard to literature, was commonly received in that age; to wit, that every individual ought to impress upon his works the image of his own genius; and, like Erasmus, who exposed to ridicule Cicero's imitators in writing, this artist was fond of deriding those of Raffaello in painting. It was his leading principle to take the tour of Italy, to copy here and there, without discrimination, whatever most pleased him, and afterwards to form a style of his own, "like an experienced inventor," to preserve an expression of Vasari. Conducted on this plan is a Pietà by him, in the church of S. Petronio, which may be compared with the trecentisti in point of forms, the attitudes, and the grouping of the figures. We may add, however, with Guercino, that this artist seemed to handle two pencils; with one of which he painted for low prices, or out of despite, or for revenge; and this he made use of in S. Petronio and several other pieces; the other he practised only on behalf of those who remunerated him honourably for his labours, and were cautious how they provoked him; and with this he displayed his art in various façades of palaces, commended by Vasari himself; in the church of S. Martino; and in many other works cited by Malvasia, who describes him as a good imitator of Giorgione.

He had an elder brother of the name of Guido, a youth who employed uncommon diligence and [Pg 35]care, carried perhaps to excess, in his art. He died at the age of thirty-five, and was lamented by his more poetical fellow citizens in elegiac strains. Malvasia is of opinion, that, had he survived, he would have equalled the fame of Bagnacavallo; such was the promise held forth by a painting of the Crucifixion under the portico of S. Pietro, and by his other works. According to the same biographer, it was Vasari's malice which led him to assign Ercole of Ferrara for Guido's master, being jealous of affording M. Amico the fame of forming such a pupil. I feel persuaded, with Vasari, no less from the age of Guido than from his taste, and from the date of 1491, which he inscribed on this highly commended picture, that assuredly it cannot belong to the pupil of a pupil formed by Francia. Similar critical errors we have already noticed in Baldinucci; and they are not very easily to be avoided where a party spirit is apt to prevail.

Gio. Maria Chiodarolo, a rival of the preceding, and subsequently of Innocenzo da Imola, in the palace of Viola, left behind him a name above the generality of this school. Malvasia mentions twenty-four other scholars of Francesco Francia, in which he was followed by Orlandi, when treating of Lorenzo Gandolfi. By some mistake these pupils are referred by him to Costa; while Bottari, misled by Orlandi, fell into the same error, although he laments "that men, in order to spare trouble, are apt to follow one another like sheep [Pg 36]or cranes." Yet in very extensive and laborious works it is difficult sometimes not to nod; nor should I occasionally note down others' inequalities, except in the hope of finding readers considerate enough to extend the same liberality towards mine. The forementioned names will prove of much utility to those who, in Milan, in Pavia, in Parma, and other places in Italy, may turn their attention to works in the ancient Bolognese style, and may hear them attributed, as it often happens, to Francia, instead of the pupils formed by him to practice in those districts, and invariably tenacious of his manner. He had also others, who from their intercourse with more modern artists, claim place in a better epoch; and for such we shall reserve them.

We must previously however take a survey of some cities of Romagna, and select what seems to belong to our present argument. We shall commence with Ravenna, a city that preserved design during periods of barbarism better than any other in Italy. Nor do we elsewhere meet with works in mosaic so well composed, and in ivory, or in marble, cut in so able a manner; all vestiges of a power and grandeur worthy of exciting the jealousy of Rome, when the seat of her princes and exarchs was removed to Ravenna. This city too having fallen from its splendour, and after many vicissitudes being governed by the Polentani, was no less indebted to them for an illustrious poet in the person of Dante, than a great painter in Giotto.[6] [Pg 37]This artist painted in the church called Porto di Fuori, several histories from the evangelists, which still remain there; and at S. Francesco and other places in the city, we may trace reliques of his pencil, or at least of his style. The Polentani being expelled, and the state brought under the subjection of Venice, from this last capital the city of Ravenna derived the founder of a new school.

This was Niccolo Rondinello, mentioned by Vasari as one "who, above all others, imitated Gian Bellini, his master, to whom he did credit, and assisted him in all his works." In the life of Bellini, and in that of Palma, Vasari gives a list of his best paintings, exhibited in Ravenna. In these his progress is very perceptible. He displays most of the antique in his picture of S. Giovanni, placed in that church, for which he also executed one of the Virgin, upon a gold ground. His taste is more modern in the larger altar-piece of San Domenico; whose composition rises above the monotony of the age, giving a representation [Pg 38]of saints in great variety of attitudes and situations. The design is exact, though always inclining to dryness, the countenances less select, and the colouring less vivid than those of his master; with equal care in his draperies, richly ornamented with embroidery in the taste of those times. It is, however, uncertain whether he had obtained any idea of the last and most perfect style of Bellini.

He had a pupil and successor in his labours at Ravenna in Francesco da Cotignola, whom Bonoli, in his history of Lugo, and that of Cotignola, as well as the describer of the Parmese paintings, agree in surnaming Marchesi, while in the Guide to Ravenna, he is denominated Zaganelli. Vasari commends him, as a very pleasing colourist; although inferior to Rondinello in point of design, and still more of composition. In this he was not happy, if we except his celebrated Resurrection of Lazarus, which is to be seen at Classe; his extremely beautiful baptism of Jesus Christ, at Faenza, and a few other histories, where he checks his ardour, and more carefully disposes his figures, for the most part fine and well draped; occasionally whimsical, and in proportions less than life. One of his most extraordinary productions is a large altar-piece at the church of the Osservanti, in Parma, where he represented the Virgin between several Saints, enlivened by several portraits in the background. He never, in my opinion, produced any work more solid in conception, nor more harmoniously disposed, nor more ingenious in the colonnade, and [Pg 39]the other accessary parts. Here he preserved the most moderate tints, contrary to his usual practice, which was glowing and highly animated, and distributed more in the manner of Mantegna, than of any other master. He had a brother named Bernardino, with whom, in 1504, he painted a very celebrated altar-piece, representing the Virgin between S. Francesco and the Baptist, placed in the interior chapel of the Padri Osservanti, in Ravenna; and another to be seen at Imola, in the church of the Riformati, with the date 1509. Bernardino, likewise, displayed tolerable ability alone, and among the paintings at Pavia, there is one at the Carmine, inscribed with his name; a fact that may correct an error of Crespi, who names the elder brother Francesco Bernardino, making the two into one artist.

Contemporary with him, Baldassare Carrari was employed at Ravenna along with his son Matteo, both natives of that state. They painted for San Domenico the celebrated altar-piece of S. Bartolommeo, with the grado, containing very elegant histories of the Holy Apostle. Such is its merit, as hardly to yield to the gracefulness of Luca Longhi, who placed one of his own pictures near it. It was one of the earliest which was painted in oil in Ravenna; and it deserved the eulogium bestowed by Pope Julius II., who on beholding it, in 1511, declared, that the altars of Rome could boast no pieces which surpassed it in point of beauty. The painter there left his portrait in [Pg 40]the figure of S. Pietro, and that of Rondinello in the S. Bartolommeo, somewhat older; an observance shewn in those times by the pupils towards their masters. Yet I should not here pronounce it such, as Vasari is not only wholly silent as to his school, but omits even his name.

At Rimini, where the Malatesti spared no expense to attract the best masters, the art of painting flourished. It was at this time that the church of San Francesco, one of the wonders of the age, was nobly erected, and as richly decorated. A number of artists at Rimini had succeeded Giotto in his school; and it is to them the author of the Guide ascribes the histories of the B. Michelina, which Vasari conceived were from Giotto's own hand.[7] At a later period one Bitino, whose name I am happy to rescue from oblivion, was employed at the same place; an artist not perhaps excelled in Italy, about the year 1407, when he painted an altar-piece of the titular saint, for the church of S. Giuliano. Around it he represented the discovery of his body, and other facts relating to the subject; extremely pleasing in point of invention, architecture, countenances, draperies, and colouring.[8] Another noble production is a S. Sigismondo, [Pg 41]at whose feet appears Sigismondo Malatesta, with the inscription, Franciscus de Burgo, f. 1446; and by the same hand there is the Scourging of our Saviour. Both these paintings are seen on the wall of S. Francesco; abounding in perspectives and capricci, with character approaching so nearly to the taste of Pietro della Francesca, then living, as to induce me to believe, that they are either by him, and that he has thus Latinized the name of his house, or by some one of his pupils, whose name has perished. Not such has been the fate of Benedetto Coda, of Ferrara, who flourished at Rimini, as well as his son Bartolommeo, where they left a number of their works. Vasari, in his life of Gio. Bellini, makes brief mention of them, describing Benedetto as Bellini's pupil, "though he derived small advantage from it." Yet the altar-piece representing the Marriage of the Virgin, which he placed in the cathedral, with the inscription of Opus Benedicti, is a very respectable production; while that of the Rosary, in possession of the Dominicans, is even in better taste, though not yet modern. This, however, cannot be said of the son, one of whose pictures I saw at S. Rocco da Pesaro, painted in 1528, with such excellent method, as almost to remind us of the golden age. It represents the titular saint of the church along with S. Sebastiano, standing round the throne of the Virgin, with the addition of playful and beautiful cherubs. Another pupil of Gio. Bellini is noticed by Ridolfi. Lattanzio da Rimino, [Pg 42]or Lattanzio della Marca, referred by others to the school of Pietro Perugino, which, perhaps too, produced Gio. da Rimino, one of whose pictures, bearing his signature, belongs to the grand Ercolani collection at Bologna.[9]

Forli, as far as I can learn, boasts no artist earlier than Guglielmo da Forli, a pupil of Giotto. His paintings in fresco, conducted at the Francescani, no longer survive, nor in the church of that order could I meet with any specimen of the thirteenth century, besides a Crucifix by some unknown hand. From that period, perhaps, a succession of artists appeared, there being no scarcity of anonymous paintings from which to conjecture such a fact; but history is silent until the time of Ansovino di Forli, who has already been included among the pupils of Squarcione. I have my doubts whether this artist could be the master of Melozzo, a name venerated by artists, inasmuch as he was the first who applied the art of foreshortening, the most difficult and the most severe, to the painting of vaulted ceilings. Considerable progress was made in perspective after the time of Paolo Uccello, with the aid of Piero della Francesca, a celebrated geometrician, and of a few Lombards. But the ornamenting of ceilings with [Pg 43]that pleasing art and illusion, which afterwards appeared, was reserved for Melozzo. It is observed by Scannelli, and followed by Orlandi, that in order to acquire the art he studied the works of the best ancient artists, and though born to fortune, he did not refuse to lodge with the masters of his times, in quality of attendant and compounder of their colours. Some writers give him as a pupil to Pietro della Francesca. It is at least probable, that Melozzo was acquainted with him and with Agostino Bramantino, when they were employed at Rome by Nicholas V., towards the year 1455. However this may be, Melozzo painted on the ceiling of the great chapel, at Santi Apostoli, the Ascension of our Lord, where, says Vasari, "the figure of Christ is so admirably foreshortened as to appear to pierce the vault; and in the same manner the angels are seen sweeping through the field of air in two opposite directions." This painting was executed for Card. Riario, nephew to Pope Sixtus IV. about the year 1472; and when that edifice required to undergo repairs, it was removed and placed in the Quirinal palace in 1711; where it is still seen, bearing this inscription: "Opus Melotii Foroliviensis, qui summos fornices pingendi artem vel primus invenit vel illustravit." Several heads of the apostles which surrounded it, and were likewise cut away, were deposited in the Vatican palace. Taken as a whole, he approaches Mantegna and the Paduan School nearer than any other in point of taste; finely formed heads, fine [Pg 44]colouring, fine attitudes, and almost all as finely foreshortened. The light is well disposed and graduated, the shadows are judicious, so that the figures seem to stand out and act in that apparent space; dignity and grandeur in the principal figure, and white drapery that encircles it; with delicacy of hand, diligence and grace in every part. What pity that so rare a genius, pronounced by his contemporaries "an incomparable painter, and the splendour of all Italy,"[10] should not have had a correct historian to have described his travels and his pursuits, which must have been both arduous and interesting, before they raised him to the eminence he attained, in being commissioned by Card. Riario to execute so great a work. At Forli, there is still pointed out the façade of an apothecary's shop, displaying Arabesques in the first style; and over the entrance appears a half-length figure, well depicted, in the act of mixing drugs, said to have been the work of Melozzo. Vasari states, that in the villa of the Dukes of Urbino, named the Imperial, Francesco di Mirozzo, from Forli, had been employed a long while previous to Dosso; and it would appear that we are here to substitute the name of Melozzo, to correct one of those errors which we have so frequently before remarked in Vasari. In the lives of the Ferrarese painters there is named a Marco Ambrogio, detto Melozzo di Ferrara, who seems to be confounded with the inventor of foreshortening; [Pg 45]but it is my opinion that this was quite a different artist, of which his name itself gives us reasons to judge. Melozzo di Forli was still alive in 1494: since F. Luca Paccioli, publishing the same year his "Summa d'Aritmetica e Geometria," ranks him among painters in perspective, "men famous and supreme," who flourished in those days.

Towards the beginning of the sixteenth century, or shortly afterwards, Bartolommeo di Forli flourished in the same city, a pupil of Francia, noticed by Malvasia, whose style was more dry than that of the generality of his fellow pupils. Next to him I place Palmegiani, transformed by Vasari into Parmegiano; a good, yet almost unknown artist, of whom, in books upon the art, I have found mention only of two works, although I have myself seen a great number. He was cautious too that posterity should not forget him, for the most part inscribing his name and country upon his altar-pieces, and upon pictures for private ornament, as follows: Marcus Pictor Foroliviensis: or Marcus Palmasanus P. Foroliviensis pinsebat. He seldom adds the year, as in two in possession of prince Ercolani, on the first of which we find the date of 1513, and on the second that of 1537. In the forementioned pictures, and more particularly in those of Forli, we may perceive that he practised more than one style. His earliest was in common with that of the quattrocentisti, in the extremely simple position of the figures, in the gilt ornaments [Pg 46]in study of each minute part, as well as in the anatomy, which in those times consisted almost wholly in drawing with some skill a S. Sebastian, or some holy anchorite. In his second manner he was more artificial in his grouping, fuller in his outlines, and greater in his proportions; though at times more free and less varied in his heads. He was accustomed to add to his principal subject some other unconnected with it, as in his picture of the Crucifixion, at S. Agostino di Forli, where he inserted two or three groups on different grounds; in one of which is seen S. Paul visited by S. Antony; in another, S. Augustine convinced by the angel on the subject of the incomprehensibility of the Supreme Triad; and in these diminutive figures, which he inserted either in the altar-pieces or on the steps, he displays an art extremely refined and pleasing. His landscape is likewise animated, and his architecture beautiful, while his Madonnas and other portraits are superior in point of beauty to those of Costa, but not equal to Francia, whose style of colouring he less resembles than that of Rondinello; a circumstance which led Vasari to attribute to the artist of Ravenna an altar-piece in the cathedral, undoubtedly from the hand of Palmegiani. The works of the latter are very numerous in Romagna; and exist in the state of Venice. One of his Madonnas was in possession of the Ab. Facciolati, in Padua, and mentioned by Bottari; and another belongs to the Sig. Dottore Antonio Larber, at Bassano. The [Pg 47]select gallery of Count Luigi Tadini, at Crema, possesses a third; the going up of Jesus to Mount Calvary; and I saw a Dead Christ, between Nicodemus and Joseph, in the Vicentini palace at Vicenza; a very beautiful picture, in which the dead has truly the appearance of death, and those living of real life. I had long entertained a curiosity to learn whose pupil so considerable an artist could have been; until I was gratified by finding that Paccioli, in his dedication of the above cited volume, addressed to Guidubaldo, Duke of Urbino, calls him the "attached disciple of Melozzo."

I was made acquainted with an artist of Forli, who flourished at the period of Palmegiani, by his Eminence Card. Borgia, who in the church of S. Maria dell'Orto, at Velletri, transcribed the following inscription: "Jo. Baptista de Rositis de Forlivio pinxit, I. S. O. O. de Mense Martii." The picture is on panel, and displays both good design and good colouring. It represents the Virgin, with the holy child in her arms, seated in a round temple supported by four columns, and each of these columns is clasped by an angel, as if bearing the temple in procession through the air. The angels are wholly arrayed in heroic dress. For this description I am indebted to the very worthy cardinal.

In respect to the other cities of Romagna, I can easily suppose that I am rather in want of materials, than that these have had no artists to boast. I have recorded, not long since, one Ottaviano, [Pg 48]and also one Pace da Faenza, pupils of Giotto; and there was pointed out to me as the production of the latter, an ancient figure of our Lady, in a church of the same city, an edifice formerly belonging to the Templars. Giacomo Filippo Carradori is included, from his style, among the ancients; in other points it is hardly possible that he could have reached the fifteenth century. There are more especially two pictures, in which he exhibits a change of style, although he never displayed the powers of a superior artist. One of them bears the date of 1580; the other that of 1582.

Another artist of Faenza better deserved mention in the first edition, but I had then no account of him. This was Giambatista da Faenza, one of whose pictures is preserved in the Communal [TN2] Collection of the Lyceum, with the author's name, and dated 1506. It exhibits the Holy Virgin; on whose right two angels support the mantle, and on the steps of the throne appear St. John the Baptist, a youth, and another cherub, in the act of playing on the harp. It is correct in point of design, the tints are very pleasing, and the folds something similar to those of Albert Durer; in other respects, equal to Costa, and perhaps, also, not inferior to Francia. He was the father of Jacopone da Faenza, and of his brother, Raffaello, from whom descended Gio. Batista Bertuzzi, likewise an artist.

There is a Francesco Bandinelli da Imola, a pupil of Francia, pointed out by Malvasia; and one [Pg 49]Gaspero, also of Imola, was employed in painting at Ravenna. In his native state, there is to be seen, at the Conventual friars, a picture of our Lady, between Saints Rocco and Francis, in a style inclining to the modern, accompanied with two portraits, very animated in point of expression.

[2] Di minio, a peculiar red colour, used also in oil painting, and well known to the ancients, who on festal days were accustomed to ornament with it the face of Jove's statue, as also that of the victors on days of triumph. Pliny and others explain the ancient method of employing it. The term, in its simple acceptation, means here the art of designing and colouring in miniature, (from di minio) early applied to the ornamenting and illuminating of ancient works and MSS. R.

"Oh dissi lui non se' tu Oderisi,
L'onor d'Agubbio, e l'onor di quell'arte
Che alluminar è chiamata a Parisi?
Frate, diss'egli, più ridon le carte
Che pennellegia Franco Bolognese:
L'onor è tutto or suo, e mio in parte.
Ben non sarei stato sì cortese
Mentre ch'io vissi per lo gran disìo
Dell'eccellenza, ove mio cor intese.
Di tal superbia qui si paga il fio."

[4] Vol. iii. p. 16.

[5] The Greeks, during the earliest periods, having uniformly represented the Virgin in so rude a style, were always pleased with similar paintings. I state this to remove a very prevalent error, that every Madonna of Greek style, with distended eyes, long fingers, and dark complexion, in the style of that of Pisa, called Degli Organi, or those of Cimabue, is to be referred to the remotest dates. Indeed I have seen specimens of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and even eighteenth centuries, particularly in the Classe Museum, in that of Cattaio, and in the palaces of Venetian nobles. One in the possession of the E. E. Signori Giustiniani Recanati, has, notwithstanding its very antique air, red letters inscribed on a gold ground, expressing, ΧΕΙΡ Ε᾿ΜΜΑΝΟΥΗΛ ΙΕΡΕΩϹ ..... α ... λξ, Manus Emanuelis Sacerdotis. an. 1660. From the hand of the same Greek priest, well known to Venetian artists, there are other altar-pieces with a similar inscription; and it is still customary in that city to reproduce specimens of a similar kind, to satisfy the continual inquiries of the Greek merchants. To judge correctly, then, of the age of such images, we must look for other indications besides their design, such as the letters, (see vol.i. p. 49), the fashion of the cornice, the method of colouring, or those cherubs, holding a gold crown over the head of the Virgin, in the edges and the folds of whose drapery are imprinted marks of ages nearer to our own.

[6] It is remarkable that, a century previous to the arrival of Giotto, we find in Ravenna one Johannes Pictor; a fact supplied by the learned Count Fantuzzi, to whom both Ravenna and the public owe so much valuable information. See his "Monumenti Ravennati, during the middle ages, for the most part inedited," vol.i. p. 347. In vol. ii. p. 210, there is mention of a parchment of 1246, in which one Graziadeo, a notary, orders that in the Portuense church there be made "imagines magnæ et spatiosæ ad aurum," which means mosaic, or painting upon a gold ground, a custom so much practised in those times.

[7] To this period belonged that Joannes Rimerici Pictor Arimini, who is pointed out to us in 1386 by Count Marco Fantuzzi, in his Monumenti Ravennati, vol. vi. edited in the year 1804.

[8] In the above named volume (vi) we find mention of the son of this distinguished man: "Magister Antonius Pictor quondam Mag. Bictini Pictoris de Arimino, 1456."

[9] I made a mistake in my former edition in supposing him to have been a pupil of Bellino, who died in 1516. Concerning this Gio. who subscribed himself likewise Gio. Francesco, we observe that Oretti, in his Memorie, MSS., points out two pictures with the dates of 1459 and 1461. He adds, that there are accounts of his having been living in 1470.

[10] Morelli Notizie, p. 109.

[Pg 50]



Various styles from the time of Francia to that of the Caracci.

Subsequent to the discovery of the new style, when every school of Italy was devoted to its cultivation in the track of one of its masters, the Bolognese artists having none at home from whom to acquire it, either removed elsewhere to study it under the eye of living masters, or, if remaining in their native place, they contrived to attain it from such foreigners as had there conducted, or at least sent thither their works. Of these they possessed, besides the St. Cecilia, and a few small paintings by Raffaello, other productions by his pupils, such as the St. John, coloured by Giulio, and the St. Zacchary, a work by Garofolo. Nor was it long before the Lombard style was introduced into Bologna, Parmigianino having there produced his St. Rocco and his St. Margaret, pictures which are enumerated among his happiest efforts, and Girolamo da Carpi, and Niccolo dell'Abate having long resided, and left there many fine specimens of their mixed style, between the Lombard and the Roman. Another artist sojourning there was Girolamo da Trevigi, an imitator of Raffaello, [Pg 51]not without some mixture of Venetian taste, some of whose productions are still seen at Bologna. A still more constant resident there was Tommaso Laureti, a Sicilian, a pupil, according to Vasari, of Sebastian del Piombo, and assuredly a more powerful colourist than most of his age. He there conducted a number of works, and among others the painting of a recess di sotto in su, for the house of Vizzani, which Father Danti, commending Vignola's perspective, pronounces perfectly unique in its kind. At the same place he left compositions abounding in figures, displaying much fancy, not however to be placed in competition with the history of Brutus, which he afterwards completed, along with several more in the Campidoglio at Rome, where he long resided and taught. At Bologna is also the altar-piece of Boldraffio, pupil to Vinci, and various other pieces by a Florentine, who signs himself Iul. Flor. read by some for Julius, and by others Julianus. Possibly he might be that Giulian Bugiardini, poor both as inventor and composer, but excellent in point of copying and colouring. Whoever he may have been, the whole of his productions, particularly his St. John, which adorns the Sacristy of St. Stephen's, shew him to have been an imitator of Vinci, almost on a par with the Luini, and the best known Milanese artists. Michelangiolo shone there in the character of a statuary in the time of Julius II., but neither produced any paintings, nor left behind him, among artists, any wish for his return, having [Pg 52]for some little indiscreet word treated Francia and Costa with the most sovereign contempt, in the same manner as at another period he criticised Pietro Perugino. His style, nevertheless, took root in Bologna within a very few years, no less from the studies pursued by Tibaldi at Rome, as will be seen, than from the examples left by Giorgio Vasari at San Michele in Bosco, in Bologna, in Michelangiolo's style. Nor did these examples prove more useful to the Bolognese than they had done to the Florentine artists; and here also they opened the path to a less correct style. It is known that Vasari's works were much commended there, and copied by young artists; that he had, moreover, assistants among the Bolognese, such as Bagnacavallo, the younger, and Fontana, who instructed not a few of his fellow citizens in the art. To these causes we may attribute the circumstance, that those Bolognese artists, nearest to the Caracci, were accustomed to colour, for the most part, like the Florentines of the third epoch, that several were extremely careless of the chiaroscuro, and frequently pursued the ideal and the practical, more than nature and truth. Yet these complaints do not apply either to so great a number of Bolognese, or to so long a period, as to give a different aspect to the whole epoch. The one which we are now about to describe, abounds with excellent artists; and to this shortly succeeded the epoch of the Caracci, which improved the good, and brought many extravagant artists into a correct method.

[Pg 53]The earliest founders of the new school were Bartolommeo Ramenghi, called Bagnacavallo, being sprung from thence, and Innocenzio Francucci da Imola. Both educated by Francia, the former subsequently went to Rome, where we have given an account of him among Raffaello's assistants; the latter to Florence, where he attached himself to the school of Albertinelli, besides studying very accurately, if I mistake not, the works of Frate and Andrea del Sarto. Both, on returning to Bologna, met with rivals, though less with the pencil than the tongue, in Aspertini and Cotignuola, artists whose works present no instance of a style wholly modern. One master, Domenico, a Bolognese, then flourished, equal to compete with the first names, but who resided out of his native place. His name, lost during two or more centuries, was brought to light, a few years ago, from the archives of S. Sigismondo of Cremona, in whose church he executed, upon the ceiling, a picture of Jonah ejected from the whale, which, in respect of the di sotto in su, is most admirable. It was completed in 1537, when this art was yet new in Italy; and I am at a loss to say whether Domenico acquired it from Coreggio, or, as is more likely, from Melozzo, whose style he most resembles of the two. I have seen no other work, nor met with any other notice of this artist, unknown even to the Bolognese historians, perhaps on account of his constant residence out of the place.

The first artist, therefore, who introduced a new [Pg 54]style into Bologna, and established it there, was Bagnacavallo, who had practised at Rome under Raffaello, and not without advantage. He had not the depth of design possessed by Giulio Romano, or Perino; but he nearly approached to the latter, and was perhaps equal to him in taste of colouring, while, in the gracefulness of his countenances, at least of the infantine and boyish, he surpassed him. In his composition he most affected Raffaello, as may be gathered from the celebrated Dispute of St. Augustine at the Scopetini, where the maxims of the School of Athens, and of other copious and noble conceptions of Sanzio, are apparent. Indeed in those subjects, treated by the latter, Bagnacavallo contented himself with being a mere copyist, declaring that it was madness to attempt to do better; in which it would seem he followed Vida's opinion, and that of other poets of his age, who inserted in their pages fragments of Virgil, because they despaired of excelling him. Such a maxim, which, whatever truth it may contain, opens a wide field for indolence and plagiarism, very probably injured him in the eyes of Vasari, who confers on him the praise due to a good practitioner rather than to a master grounded in the theory of his art. Still he conducted some paintings, on the strength of his own invention, at S. Michele in Bosco, at S. Martino, and at S. Maria Maggiore, which absolve him from such an accusation; nor can I believe that the Caracci, Albano, and Guido, would have copied from [Pg 55]him and imitated his works, had they not recognized in them the hand of a master.

There was a son of Bagnacavallo, named Gio. Batista, who was employed as an assistant to Vasari in the palace of the chancery at Rome, and to Primaticcio in the court of France. He likewise left various original works in Bologna, more nearly inclining, if I judge rightly, to the decline of the art in his own time, than to the examples of his father. In addition to his son, mention ought here to be made of Bagnacavallo's companion, called Biagio Pupini, and sometimes Maestro Biagio dalle Lamme, who, having been at Rome with Ramenghi, contracted with him at Bologna a community of labours and of interests, and assisted him in the Dispute just before mentioned, as well as in other works. He formed the same connexion with Girolamo da Trevigi and others, uniformly acquiring, if we are to credit Vasari, more money than reputation, and at times injuring that of his companion by his eagerness to finish. Whatever opinion we may entertain regarding such facts, this artist by no means merits contempt; and perhaps Vasari might have treated him with more lenity, had there not existed between them mutual rivalship and disgust. In Pupini's style, where he exerted his powers, we trace the manner of Francesco Francia, his master, though a good deal enlarged, with the relief, and the various other characteristics of the good age. Of this taste is a Nativity of our Lord which he painted at Bologna, and which now adorns the institution of that place.

[Pg 56]Innocenzio, born at Imola, but residing always in Bologna, was admitted into the school of Francia in 1506; from which we are not to infer, with Malvasia, that he did not spend some years at Florence in company with Albertinelli. This is attested by Vasari, and confirmed by the resemblance of his style to that of the most distinguished Florentines of the age. He produced several altar-pieces, composed in the taste of the fourteenth century; but following the example of Frate and of Andrea, he placed the Virgin above, without the ancient gildings, and with great art he grouped and disposed the saints who attend her; while, with equal novelty, he distributed the train of cherubs over the steps and through the surrounding space. Sometimes, as in the extraordinary picture displayed in the cathedral of Faenza, and another in possession of prince Ercolani, he added some noble architecture, bold and drawn from the antique. In other instances, as in the church of the Osservanti, at Pesaro, we observe the most attractive landscape, combined with an aërial perspective, sufficient to remind us of Vinci. He was accustomed too to insert little histories, as in S. Giacomo at Bologna, where, at the foot of the picture, he painted a Christ in the manger, of which it is enough to add, that it is perfectly Raffaellesque. This, indeed, was the style to which he invariably aspired, and so nearly attained, that very few of Raffaello's own pupils could equal him. Those who may be desirous of convincing themselves, may examine the altar-piece at Faenza in all its parts, and that [Pg 57]of S. Michele in Bosco; to say nothing of his Madonnas and his Holy Families, interspersed throughout the Bolognese collections, and in the adjacent cities. He is preferred to Francia and to Bagnacavallo, in all that relates to erudition, majesty, and correctness. I am not aware that he executed compositions very new, or subjects requiring fire and vigour, nor would they have been consistent with his genius, which is described as of a gentle and tranquil cast.

The fame of the two masters, just celebrated, did not then extend far beyond their native districts, being eclipsed by the celebrity of many contemporaries, who swayed the regions of the art; in the list of whom was Giulio Romano. His reputation drew to Mantua Francesco Primaticcio, instructed in design by Innocenzio, and by Bagnacavallo in colouring. Under Giulio he afterwards became a painter on a great scale, and a very copious composer of large histories, as well as a decorator in wood and stucco in a magnificent style suitable only for a palace. In this way, having studied six years in Mantua, he was sent by Giulio to the court of the French king Francis, and there, though Rosso the Florentine had arrived a year before, and executed a variety of works, yet we learn that "the first stuccos and the first works in fresco of any consideration in France, took their rise from Primaticcio," in the words of Vasari. Nor has he omitted to mention, that the king bestowed upon this artist the abbey of St. Martin, though he did not add that it brought him an annual income of eight [Pg 58]thousand crowns, while Rosso possessed only a canonship worth one thousand. In regard to this last omission he is severely taxed with malice by Malvasia, with what reason the reader will best judge for himself. We farther learn from Vasari that this artist employed himself, as well as his young assistants, in decorating a number of the halls and chambers at Fontainebleau, that he supplied the court with many ancient marbles, and many moulds of excellent sculpture, from which he had casts afterwards taken in bronze; in a word, that he was like another Giulio, if not in architecture, at least in every other kind of knowledge appertaining to the arts. The works conducted by him in France have been described by Felibien, and from the same pen is that appropriate eulogy—"that the geniuses of France are indebted to Primaticcio and to M. Niccolo, (dell'Abate) for many exquisite productions, and that they are entitled to the fame of having been the first who introduced Roman taste into France, with all the beau ideal of ancient painting and sculpture." At the Te of Mantua there remains the frieze of stuccos, so highly commended by Vasari, from Primaticcio's own hand, as well as a few pictures, which last, however, are not so assuredly his. His pictures indeed are objects of the utmost rarity in Italy, and in Bologna itself. In the grand Zambeccari gallery there is a concert by him, with three female figures, altogether enchanting; the forms, the motions, the colouring, the taste of the lines and folding so easy and chaste, all combined with a certain [Pg 59]originality pervading the whole, are well calculated to attract and rivet the eye at the first moment. When dying, he assigned Niccolo Abati, called too dell'Abate, to continue his grand works, because he had brought him from Bologna, and laid the ground-work of his fortunes. An account of this delightful painter may be found in the Modenese School. He was not Primaticcio's pupil, but one Ruggiero Ruggieri was, and conducted by him into France, he left few paintings in his own country; to whom we may perhaps add one Francesco Caccianemici, called by Vasari his disciple, from whose hand, at Bologna, there only remain a few doubtful specimens.

Much under the same circumstances as Primaticcio and Abati appeared Pellegrino Pellegrini, whose patronymic was Tibaldi, a native of Valdelsa in the Milanese; though residing from his childhood, educated, and established at Bologna. He next filled the same situation at the court of Spain, as the two preceding had done at that of France; he decorated it with his paintings, improved its taste in architecture, formed pupils, and rose in fortune until he at length became Marquess of that Valdelsa, where his father and uncle had resided as poor masons before they went to Bologna. It is not known who first imbued his liberal spirit with the elements of learning; but Vasari traces his progress from some pictures of his in the refectory of S. Michele in Bosco, copied by Tibaldi when young, along with other select pieces at Bologna. From this place [Pg 60]he follows him to Rome in 1547, eager to study the finest works in that capital, where, after three years' residence, he re-conducts[TN3] him to Bologna, still very young, but advanced in the knowledge of his art. His style was in great part formed upon the models of Michelangiolo—vast, correct in drawing, bold, and happy in his foreshortenings; yet, at the same time, tempered with so much mellowness and softness, as to induce the Caracci to denominate him the reformed Michelangiolo. The first work which he conducted, subsequent to the year 1550, is in the Bolognese Institution, and it is the most perfect, in Vasari's opinion, ever executed by him. It contains in particular various stories from the Odyssey, and this work, with that by Niccolino, mentioned elsewhere,[11] both executed for the Institution, were afterwards finely engraved by Sig. Antonio Buratti of Venice, accompanied with the lives of the two painters, written by Zanotti. Both there, and in the great merchants' hall at Ancona, where he subsequently represented Hercules, the monster-slayer, Tibaldi exhibited the true method of imitating the terrible in the style of Michelangiolo, which consisted in a fear of too nearly approaching him. Although Vasari greatly commends these works, the Caracci, to whose judgment we would rather defer, have bestowed higher praises on those executed by Pellegrino for the church of S. Jacopo; and it was on these pictures that both the Caracci and their pupils bestowed most study. In one is represented [Pg 61]the preaching of St. John in the desert; in another the separation of the elect from the wicked, where, in the features of the celestial messenger announcing the tidings, Pellegrino displayed those of his favourite Michelangiolo. What a school for design and for expression is here! What art in the distribution of such a throng of figures, in varying and in grouping them! In Loreto too, and in different adjacent cities, he produced other histories, less celebrated perhaps, but all nearly as deserving of the burin as those executed at Bologna. Such is the Entrance of Trajan into Ancona, in possession of the Marchese Mancinforte; and various exploits of Scipio, belonging to the accomplished nobleman, Marchese Ciccolini, which decorate one of his halls, where he himself pointed them out to me. It is a work conceived in a more refined and graceful taste than we meet with in other compositions of Tibaldi; and of the same composition I have seen some of his pictures on a very small scale; but rare, like all his pieces in oil; wrought with the exquisite finish of a miniaturist; mostly rich in figures, full of fine spirit, vivid colouring, and decorated with all the pleasing perspectives that architecture could afford. This indeed was his favourite art; which, after he had afforded some beautiful specimens of it in Piceno, and next at Milan, procured him an appointment from Philip II. to superintend the engineers at the Spanish Court. There again, after the lapse of twenty years, during [Pg 62]which he never touched the easel, he resumed the art of painting; and we meet with a list of his works in the Escurial of Mazzolari.

Domenico Tibaldi de' Pellegrini, once conjectured to be the son, was the pupil and brother of Pellegrino; and his name is in great repute among the architects and engravers of Bologna. His epitaph at San Mammolo states him also to have been a distinguished painter; but we must receive the authority of epitaphs with some caution; and not even a portrait from his hand is to be met with. Faberio speaks less highly of his powers, and in the funeral oration upon Agostino Caracci, whose master he had been, he mentions him as an able designer, engraver, and architect. Pellegrino's pupils in painting, and no obscure artists, were Girolamo Miruoli, commended by Vasari among the artists of Romagna, who left one of his frescos at the Servi, in Bologna, and several other pieces at Parma, where he filled the office of court-painter, and there died; and secondly, Gio. Francesco Bezzi, called Nosadella, who painted a great deal at Bologna and in other cities, in the style of his master, exaggerating it in point of power, but not equalling it in care, and in short, reducing it to mere mechanic labour and despatch.

Vasari, in his life of Parmigianino, has mentioned with praise Vincenzio Caccianemici, of a good family in Bologna, respecting whom there have been some discussions, to avoid confounding him with Francesco, who bore the same surname. The [Pg 63]correctors of the old Guide suppose him to be the author of a Decollation of St. John, placed at S. Petronio, in the family chapel; a picture well designed and better coloured, and executed, as they observe, in the style of Parmigianino.

Whilst the three great geniuses of the Bolognese School were residing abroad, the two first mentioned in France, and the third in Milan, and afterwards in Spain, the art continued stationary, or, more correctly, declined in Bologna. In the year 1569 three masters are pointed out by Vasari, namely, Fontana, Sabbatini, and Sammachini, whom he calls Fumaccini. For what reason he excluded Ercole Procaccini, an artist, if not of great genius, at least of finished execution, I am unable to say. Certain it is that Lomazzo, whilst he resided with him in Milan, mentioned him in the highest terms, and enumerated in the list of his pupils Sabbatini, and Sammachini too. I shall not here repeat what I have detailed in the Milanese School respecting Ercole and his sons; but, passing on to the others, I shall begin with Fontana, the principal cause of the decline above alluded to.

The long protracted life of this artist comprehended the whole of the period now under our view, and even extended beyond it. Born in the time of Francia, educated by Imola, who at his death selected him to finish one of his pictures, and subsequently employed for a long period as the assistant of Vaga, and of Vasari, he continued to labour [Pg 64]and to teach without intermission, until the Caracci, once his disciples, drew all his commissions and followers to themselves. For this result he was indebted to his own conduct. Devoted to pleasure (the most fatal enemy to an artist's reputation) he could only provide the means of gratification by burthening himself with works, and executing them with little care. He possessed a fertility of ideas, a vehemence, and a cultivation of mind, well adapted for works of magnitude. Abandoning, therefore, the careful finish of Francucci, he adopted the method of Vasari, and like him covered with his works a vast number of walls in a short space of time, and nearly in the same taste. In design he is more negligent than Vasari, in his motions more energetic; his colours have the same yellow cast, but rather more delicacy. In Città di Castello a hall of the noble family of Vitelli is filled with family histories, painted by him in a few weeks, as Malvasia informs us, and the work confirms the assertion. Similar specimens, or but little superior, are met with in Rome, at the Villa Giulia, and at the Palazzo di Toscana, in the Campo Marzio, and in various houses in Bologna. Yet in other places he appears an artist of merit for a declining age; as in his Epiphany, at the Grazie, where he displays a facility, a pomp of drapery, and a magnificence nearly approaching the style of Paul Veronese. This work bears the name of the painter written in letters of gold. But his best claim to distinction is founded on his portraits, [Pg 63A]which are more highly prized in cabinets than are his compositions in the churches. It was this talent which induced Michelangiolo to present him to Julius III. by whom he was pensioned as one of the Palatine painters of his time.

He had a daughter and a pupil in Lavinia Fontana, named also Zappi, from the family of Imola, into which she was married. This lady executed several altar-pieces at Rome and at Bologna in the paternal style, as far as regards colouring; but less successful in point of design and composition. She felt the inferiority, as is observed by Baglione, and sought reputation from portrait-painting, a branch in which she is preferred by some to Prospero. It is certain that she wrought with a sort of feminine perseverance, in order that her portraits should more faithfully express every line and feature of nature in the countenances, every refinement of art in the drapery. She became painter to Pope Gregory XIII., and was more particularly applied to by the Roman ladies, whose ornaments she displayed more perfectly than any male artist in the world. She attained to so high a degree of sweetness and softness in the art, especially after knowing the works of the Caracci, that one or two of her portraits have been attributed to Guido. With equal ability she produced a number of cabinet pictures, such as that Holy Family for the Escurial, so much commended by Mazzolari, and her Sheba at the throne of Solomon, which I saw in the collection [Pg 64A]of the late Marchese Giacomo Zambeccari. She has there expressed, in the form of allegory, the Duke and Duchess of Mantua, surrounded by many lords and ladies of their court, arrayed in splendid style; a painting that would reflect credit on the Venetian School. Gifted with such genius, she was by no means chary of her own likenesses executed by herself, which ornament the royal gallery of Florence and other collections. But there remains no specimen more truly speaking and delightful than the one belonging to the Conti Zappi, at Imola, where it is accompanied by the portrait of Prospero in his declining days, also painted by her.

Lorenzo Sabbatini, called likewise Lorenzin di Bologna, was one of the most graceful and delicate painters of his age. I have heard him enumerated among the pupils of Raffaello by keepers of the galleries, deceived doubtless by his Holy Families, designed and composed in the best Roman taste, although invariably more feebly coloured. I have also seen some of his Holy Virgins and Angels painted for private ornament, which resemble Parmigianino. Nor were his altar-pieces inferior; the most celebrated of which is that of St. Michael, engraved by Agostino Caracci, from an altar of S. Giacomo Maggiore; and this he held up as an example of gracefulness and beauty, to his whole school. He was, moreover, a fine fresco painter, correct in design, of copious invention, universal master in the [Pg 65]subjects of the piece, and what is still more remarkable, most rapid in point of execution. Endowed with such qualities, he was engaged by many noble houses in his native place; but on proceeding to Rome in the pontificate of Gregory XIII., according to Baglione, he there met with success; insomuch, that even his fleshes and naked figures were highly commended, though this was by no means a branch of his pursuits at Bologna. In the Capella Paolina, he represented the histories of St. Paul; in the royal hall, the picture of Faith, shewn in triumph over Infidelity; in the gallery and the lodges a variety of other pieces, always in competition with the best masters, and always with equal applause. Hence, in the immense list of artificers at that period congregated at Rome, he was selected to preside over the labours of the Vatican, in the enjoyment of which honourable post he died at an early age in 1577.

It is difficult to believe, as asserted by some writers, that Giulio Bonasone was his pupil, an artist who practised engraving in copper as early as 1544. On reaching a more mature age, he seems to have devoted himself to painting, leaving several paintings on canvass, but feeble and varying in their style. At S. Stefano there is one of Purgatory, in the style of Sabbatini, extremely fine, and composed, as it is conjectured, with the assistance of Lorenzino. The productions, also, of Cesare Aretusi, of Felice Pasqualini, and of Giulio Morina, are in existence, though the name of Sabbatini [Pg 66]might perhaps be justly substituted for theirs; such was the part he took in their labours. The latter, with Girolamo Mattioli, after the celebrity gained by the Caracci, became their eager followers. The labours of Mattioli, who died young, were distributed among different private houses, particularly in that of the noble family of Zani: those of Morina are seen in various churches at Bologna, and for the most part betray a degree of affectation of the style of Parma, at which city he some time painted in the service of the duke.

Orazio Samacchini, the intimate friend of Sabbatini, his contemporary, and who followed him at a short interval to the tomb, began his career by imitating Pellegrino and the Lombards. Proceeding next to Rome, and employed in painting for the royal hall, under Pius IV.; he succeeded in catching the taste of the Roman School, for which he was praised by Vasari, (who calls him Fumaccini) and afterwards by Borghini and Lomazzo. In the display of this his new style, however, he contrived to please others more than himself; and returning to Bologna, he was accustomed to lament that he had ever removed from upper Italy, where he might have carried his early manner to greater perfection, without deviating in search of a new. Still he had no reason to feel dissatisfied with that which he had thus formed of various others, and so moulded by his own genius, as to exhibit something singular in its every [Pg 67]character. In his altar-piece of the Purification, at S. Jacopo, it is all exquisite delicacy, in which the leading figures enchant us with at once a majestic and tender expression of piety; while those infant figures seen conversing near the altar, and that of the young girl holding a little basket with two doves, gazing on them in so peculiar a manner, delight us with their mingled simplicity and grace. Skilful judges even can take no exceptions but to the display of too great diligence, with which, during several years, he had studied and polished this single painting. This, however, as one of the most celebrated of its school, was engraved by Agostino, and it would seem that even Guido availed himself of it in his Presentation, painted for the cathedral of Modena, yet he was an equally powerful artist where his subjects required it of him. His chapel, of which we gave an account in the Parmese School, is highly commended, though his most vigorous effort is shewn in the ceiling of S. Abbondio, at Cremona. The grand and the terrible seem to strive for mastery in the figures of the prophets, in all their actions and positions; the most difficult from confinement of space, yet the best arranged and imagined. There is, moreover, a truth in the shortenings, and a skilful use of the sotto in su,[12] which appears in this instance to have selected the most difficult portion of the art, in order to triumph over it. His forte is believed to have [Pg 68]consisted in grand undertakings in fresco, on which he impressed, as it were, the seal of a vast spirit, at once resolute and earnest, without altering it by corrections and retouches, with which he laboured his paintings in oil, as we have stated.

Bartolommeo Passerotti has been commended by Borghini and Lomazzo; and he is casually named also by Vasari among the assistants of Taddeo Zuccaro; indeed, it may rather be said, this is the artist with whom Vasari ceases to write, and Malvasia to inveigh.[13] He possessed excellent skill in designing with his pen; a gift which drew to his school Agostino Caracci, and which assisted the latter as a guide in the art of engraving. He likewise wrote a book, from which he taught the symmetry and anatomy of the human body, essential to the artist; and was the first who, to make a grander display, began to vary scriptural histories at Bologna by drawing the naked torsi. The finest of these specimens are, the Beheading of St. Paul, at Rome, in the Tre Fontane; and at S. Giacomo, of Bologna, a picture of the Virgin among various saints; a work meant to compete [Pg 69]with the Caracci, and embellished by their praise. One of his pictures too of "Tizio" was much celebrated, which, being exhibited to the public, was supposed by the professors of Bologna to have been the work of Michelangiolo. This exquisite degree of diligence and refinement he rarely used; most generally he was bold and free, somewhat resembling Cesare, only more correct. In his portraits, however, he is by no means a common painter. After Titian, Guido included him among the very first, not preferring before him the Caracci themselves, whose name, indeed, in several galleries, is attached to the portraits of Passerotti. The most commendable of all however, are those he executed for the noble family Legnani—entire figures extremely varied in costume, in action, and attitudes; it being his usual custom to compose portraits, such as Ridolfi described of Paris, which should appear ideal pictures. By means of such a talent, which made him agreeable to the great, by his polite and refined manners and malicious strictures, he became a match for the Caracci; for whom he also prepared rivals in a number of his sons, whom he carefully instructed in the art. Among these, Tiburzio possessed real merit, of which his fine picture of the Martyrdom of St. Catherine, conducted in the taste of his father, displays sufficient proof. Passerotto and Ventura, however, were below mediocrity. Aurelio was a good miniaturist, and in the same branch Gaspero, a son [Pg 70]of Tiburzio, also met with success. In the works of Bartolommeo we often meet with a sparrow, the symbol of his own name; a custom derived from the ancients, and followed by many of our own artists. It is a well-known fact relating to two sculptors, Batraco and Sauro, that for their proper names they substituted, the former a frog, and the latter a lizard.

Dionisio Calvart, born at Antwerp, and hence also called Dionisio the Fleming, came, when young, into Bologna, and displayed some ability in landscape painting. In order to become a figure painter, he entered first the school of Fontana, and next that of Sabbatini, whom he greatly assisted in his labours for the Vatican. But after quitting also this master, and occupying himself, some little time, in designing from Raffaello's pictures, he returned to Bologna, opened a studio, and there educated as many as a hundred and thirty-seven masters in the art, some of whom were excellent. He was a fine artist for his age; understood perspective well, which he acquired from Fontana, and designed both correctly and gracefully in the taste of Sabbatini. He moreover possessed the art of colouring, in the taste of his own countrymen, a quality which induced the Bolognese to regard him as a restorer of their school, which in this branch of painting had declined. If there were some degree of mannerism in his style, some action in his figures too little dignified, or too extravagant; the former was the fault of his age, and the latter of his temperament, [Pg 71]which is described as extremely restless and violent. Notwithstanding, he instructed his pupils with assiduous care, and from the cartoons of the most celebrated inventors he gave them lectures in the art. Different collections abound with his small pictures, painted chiefly on copper, representing incidents from the Gospel, which attract by the abundance of the figures, by their spirit, and by the lusciousness of their tints. Similar commissions in this line were then very frequently given in Bologna; most times proceeding from the noviciate nuns, who were in the habit of carrying with them into the cloister similar little paintings to decorate their lonely cells; and Calvart provided abundance of them, with the assistance of his young men, whose pieces he retouched; and they obtained immense circulation both in Italy and Flanders. In particular those conducted by Albano and Guido, his two pupils, boast the most attractive graces, and may be known by a certain superior decision, knowledge, and facility. In the list of his altar-pieces, the S. Michele, at S. Petronio, and the Purgatory, at the Grazie, bear the palm; and from these, as well as others, the best disciples of the Caracci confessed the assistance which they received.

On the rise of the new Bolognese School, the pupils of Calvart for the most part changed their manner, attaching themselves some to one master, and some to another. Those who preserved most evident traces of their former education, in other [Pg 72]words, who continued more feeble and less natural than the Caracceschi, were but few. Malvasia enumerates Gio. Batista Bertusio in this list, who vainly aspired at resembling Guido, leaving a variety of paintings both at Bologna and its villages, displaying beauties more apparent than real. Two other artists, Pier Maria da Crevalcore, a painter in oil, and Gabriel Ferrantini, known by his frescos, called also Gabriel degli Occhiali, seem both to have seen, and attempted to imitate the Caracci. Emilio Savonanzi, a Bolognese noble, attached himself to the art when nearly arrived at manhood, but he attended Cremonini more than Calvart; and strongly addicted to changing masters, entered the school of Lodovico Caracci, next that of Guido at Bologna, of Guercino at Cento, and finally the studio of Algardi, an excellent sculptor at Rome. By such means he became a good theorist and an able lecturer, applauded in every particular of his art; nor was he wanting in good practice, uniting many styles in one, in which however that of Guido most prevails. Still he was not equally correct in all his pieces, even betraying feebleness of touch, and not scrupling to denominate himself an artist of many hands. He resided at Ancona, next at Camerino, at which places, as well as in the adjacent districts, he left a variety of works. Of another Bolognese, who flourished at the same period, there remains at Ancona a picture of the offering of the Infant Jesus at the Temple, ornamenting the larger altar [Pg 73]of S. Jacopo. The inscription shews him to have resided at Brescia, F. Tiburtius Baldinus Bononiensis F. Brixiæ, 1611. This date proves him to have belonged to the present epoch. His taste, from what I am informed by Sig. Cav. Boni, extremely well informed on subjects of the fine arts, reminds us of the excellent school that flourished in 1500: magnificence in the architecture, great copiousness of composition, and clearness of effect, except that in the general tone of his tints, and in his fleshes, he is somewhat cold. One artist there was, who declared that he had laid down for himself a maxim, never to alter with other styles that of Calvart; and this was Vincenzo Spisano, called likewise Spisanelli. He however is inferior in solidity and truth of design, and displays quite as much caprice and mannerism as any of the practitioners of his time. Nor does he always preserve the colours peculiar to his school; but deadens them with a leaden hue, which is still not unpleasing. His altar-pieces, executed at Bologna, and in the neighbouring cities, are less celebrated than his small pictures for private ornament, which abound in Bologna, and which he was in the habit of enlivening with very attractive landscape. It has already been observed that those who were mannerists in their style, like Zuccaro and Cesari, always when working on a small scale, improved upon themselves.

Bartolommeo Cesi fills the rank also of head of a school, among those who cleared the path to the [Pg 74]good method pursued by the disciples of the Caracci. From him Tiarini acquired the art of painting fresco, and his works gave the first impulse to Guido in attaining to his sweet and graceful manner. On examining a work by Cesi, it sometimes seems doubtful whether it may not have been that of Guido when young. He dares little, copies every thing from nature, selects fine forms of each period of life, and makes sparing use of the ideal; his lines and folds are few, his attitudes measured, and his tints more beautiful than strong. He has some paintings at San Jacopo, and at San Martino, which are extremely pleasing; and it is said that Guido, during his early youth, was in the habit of sitting to contemplate them sometimes for hours. His frescos, perhaps, display more power, where he has introduced many copious histories with great judgment, variety, and mastery; and such are those of Æneas, in the Favi palace. His Arch of Forli, painted for Clement VIII., with different exploits, surprises us even more. Though exposed to the action of the open air, during so many years, this piece retains the vividness of its tints to a surprising degree. Malvasia's opinion, in commendation of this artist, is very remarkable, that he had a manner which at once satisfies, pleases, and enamours the beholder, as truly exquisite and sweet as any style of the best Tuscan masters in fresco. In the larger chapel of the Bolognese monastery of Carthusians, there are distinguished examples in both [Pg 75]kinds of painting; and the describer of the Carthusian monastery, in his account of them, likewise enumerates Cesi's works for other monasteries of the same order, those of Ferrara, of Florence, and Siena. He was held in esteem by the Caracci, and very generally so by the different professors, no less for the candour of his character, than for his love of the art. To his efforts it was chiefly owing that the company of painters, in 1595, obtained a separation from the artificers of swords, of saddles, and of scabbards, with all of whom they had for centuries been united in the same corporation, and that a new one being formed of painters and of cotton manufacturers,[14] it not being possible wholly to exclude the latter, they were to rank inferior to the artists, or, to use the words of Malvasia, "that they should condescend to furnish to the amount of two hundred, or more, crowns, rich purple cloaks to decorate the wearer of the laurel crown, preceding their vice steward."[15]

Cesare Aretusi, a son, perhaps, of Pellegrino Munari,[16] was distinguished as a colourist in the Venetian taste, but in point of invention weak and dull; while Gio. Batista Fiorini, on the other hand, was full of fine conceptions but worthless in his colouring. Friendship, that introduces community in the possessions of friends, here achieved what is narrated in the Greek anthology of two [Pg 76]poor rogues, one of whom was blind and stout, and carried on his shoulders a sharp-eyed cripple, who thus provided himself with a friend's pair of feet, while he afforded him the advantage of as many eyes. So it fared with our two artists, who separately could accomplish very little; though in uniting their powers they produced paintings of considerable merit. In the Guida di Bologna they are very properly rarely divided from each other; and I believe, that in every painting we find attributed to Aretusi, we ought farther to seek for some companion of his labours. Of such kind is a Nativity of the Virgin at S. Afra in Brescia, passing under his name, and painted in a very powerful style. Respecting this picture, however, Averoldi is of opinion that it was in part the workmanship of Bagnatore, in part of other painters, or, perhaps, only painter; in other words that of his useful friend Aretusi. Nevertheless in the branch of portrait, Cesare possessed merit above sharing it with others, and in this capacity he was employed by different princes, and he also succeeded in copying the works of excellent masters better than any other of his age. He could assume the style of almost every painter, and even pass off his imitations for the originals. In his imitation of Coreggio, he was more particularly successful, and received a commission to execute a painting from the celebrated Night, by that master, for the church of S. Gio. di Parma, where it still remains. Mengs, who saw it, declared that were the original at Dresden [Pg 77]by any accident lost, it might be well supplied by so fine a duplicate. It was this performance that obtained him the honour of restoring the painting, formerly executed by Coreggio for the same church, of which mention was made in the school of Parma, and to which we here refer the reader. Here too we should add, that such was the success of that picture, "from its accurate imitation of the taste displayed in the original, of its conception, and of its harmony, as to lead those unacquainted with the fact to suppose it to be the work of Allegri." Such are the words of Ruta in his Guida.

Little attention seems to have been given to inferior branches of the art during this epoch, if, indeed, we except that of portrait, whose leading artists must not again be introduced here, having treated of their merits in the proper place. Nor probably were there then wanting painters in oil, who severally produced ornamental pieces of landscape and animals, besides Cremonini and Baglione, whose ability in this line we shall shortly notice, in the class of ornamental fresco painters; though none, as far as I can learn, acquired celebrity. In one instance only I meet with handsome eulogiums on a miniature painter, occasionally mentioned throughout this work. He was called Gio. Neri, also Gio. degli Ucelli, from his peculiar talent in delineating all kinds of birds from the life. With these, and with fish of various species, with quadrupeds and other animals, he filled seven folio volumes, [Pg 78]which are cited by Masini in the studio of Ulisse Aldovrandi.

Throughout the whole of this epoch we find no mention in Malvasia of any ornamental or perspective painters, except, perhaps, some figurist, who paid little attention to decorations. There is reason, however, to suppose that the celebrated Sebastiano Serlio, while yet a youth, painted perspectives. The Cav. Tiraboschi, in the seventh volume of his history, remarks that "there is no account of Serlio's occupation during the early part of his life." But the Guida of Pesaro, p. 83, alludes to him at the close of 1511, and subsequently in 1514, as residing in that city in quality of an artist; and in what branch can we more probably suppose him to have been engaged than in perspective? For this, indeed, was the tirocinium of other able architects, where, previous to being entrusted with the anxious duties of their profession, they were enabled, with more facility, to sustain themselves, until their reputation permitted them to assume the character of architects, and abandon the pursuit of painting. Indisputably he could not have been an architect at Pesaro, otherwise there would never have been written on a parchment of 1514, remaining in the archives of the Servi:—Sebastiano qu. Bartholomæi de Serlis de Bononia pictore habitatore Pisauri. And it is about 1534 that we have an account of his being at Venice, no longer handling the pencil, but the square. Masini, who had written his [Pg 79]Bologna Perlustrata only a short period before the Felsina Pittrice, commends an Agostino dalle Prospettive, who had reached such a degree of perfection in that art, as even to deceive animals and men with his illusive staircases and similar works, executed at Bologna. It is doubtful whether he did not belong to another school, and may have been omitted by Malvasia as a foreigner. I suspected him to be a Milanese in my fourth volume p. 231), and pupil to the great Soardi, not inferior to his master. Next to him, and to Laureti, Gio. Batista Cremonini of Cento was employed in such commissions more than any other artist. He had received rather superior instructions in the rules of perspective, and respectable practice in the line of statues, figures, and histories, with whatever went to give splendour and effect to a façade, a theatre, or a hall; more particularly he succeeded in delineating animals, however ferocious and wild. There was scarcely a house of any account in all Bologna, which, if nothing more, could not boast some specimen of his chiaroscuro, some frieze for ornament, chimney-piece, or vestibule, decorated by Cremonini; to say nothing of his numerous works in fresco which filled the churches. He was also employed for the adjacent cities, and in different courts of Lombardy kept open school and instructed Guercino, Savonanzi, Fialetti, who flourished in Venice as before stated. He had for his companion Bartolommeo Ramenghi, cousin of Gio. Batista, with whom also lived Scipione Ramenghi, [Pg 80]son of Gio. Batista himself, and both eminent[TN4] ornamental painters during that period.

Cremonini had a rival in one Cesare Baglione, an artist in the same sphere, and of the same eager and expeditious character in the art. He was, moreover, a better painter of landscape, and even surpassed all others, including the most ancient, in the method of drawing his foliage. In his inventions too, both of a serious and comic kind, he displayed greater novelty and variety than Cremonini. He thus became a favorite at Parma, where in the ducal palace he left some of his best works, all in harmony with the places which he painted; in the larder illusive eatables of every kind, and cooks employed in dressing them; in the bakehouse utensils for the bakers, and incidents relating thereto; in the washhouses women were seen busied in their different duties, and all in dismay at some untoward or comic accidents; works abounding in spirit and reality sufficient to procure him reputation in his line, had he shewn less eagerness in the execution. This praise will not apply, however, to his decorative taste, which excited the ridicule of the Caracci, who were in the habit of laughing at the fantastic ornaments of his capitals, and those arabesques, most resembling, they declared, the staves of barrels; as well as that custom of filling his compositions with useless ornaments, without rule or discretion, which his own pupils afterwards proceeded to introduce, especially Spada and Dentone. Several [Pg 81]others were instructed by him in the art, as Storali and Pisanelli, and some of less note, who painted well in perspective, without aspiring to the reputation of figurists.

Thus we have taken a brief survey of the state of painting in Bologna from the time of Bagnacavallo to the Caracci, who already rising into repute about 1585, in some measure competed with the elder artists, and in some measure by their example, and the spirit of emulation, tended to improve them, of which more in the following epoch. Meanwhile, let us turn our attention to what was passing during this period in Romagna.

Ravenna prides herself on the name of Jacopone, a pupil of Raffaello, who, by his paintings at S. Vitale, introduced into that city the principles of the modern style, and of whom we shall shortly state our opinion, not without some degree of novelty. Another of Raffaello's disciples, if what is averred of him be correct, nourished at Ravenna about 1550, called Don Pietro da Bagnaia, a canon of the Lateran. In the church of his order he painted the altar-piece of S. Sebastian; in the Refectory, the scriptural history of the Loaves and Fishes, besides leaving in another place a history-piece of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, abounding in figures equal to the preceding. To these, enumerated by Orlandi, may be added the picture of Padua, with the Virgin between St. John the Baptist and St. Augustine, executed for the church of S. Giovanni di Verdara; in the sacristy [Pg 82]of which is a Holy Family by him, imbued with all the graces of Raffaello in every feature and action, but sadly wanting in strength and harmony of colouring. There is another Holy Family at the Lateran Friars in Asti, on a larger scale, designed and composed with equal grace, but with similar feebleness of tints, even more lifeless; and to both pieces is appended an inscription, entreating the beholder to pray for the soul of the painter. I am not aware whether this worthy ecclesiastic was in Ravenna in 1547, at the period of Vasari's visit thither, but the latter makes no mention of his name.

Yet he mentioned, among the excellent artists who still flourished there, Luca Longhi, whose ability in the essentials of the art is highly praised. He regrets, however, that he should always have resided in his native place, which had he left for objects of improvement, he might have become a very distinguished artist. He was a good portrait-painter, and produced a great number of pictures for Ravenna. Some, too, he sent elsewhere, and they are met with at San Benedetto in Ferrara, in the Abbey at Mantua, in that of Praglia near Padua, at S. Francesco in Rimini, with the date of 1580, in Pesaro, and other places. They are chiefly composed in the ancient manner, but on comparing some of the earlier with those that follow, a more modern air is perceptible, a circumstance attributed by Vasari to his own conversations with the artist. Longhi's style, however, [Pg 83]was opposed to that of Vasari, being very correct and highly finished; his conceptions sweet, varied, and graceful; with a powerful union of colours; more nearly resembling Innocenzo da Imola, if I mistake not, than any other artist of the times, though inferior to him in point of grandeur and beauty. Luca's most perfect pictures that I have met with in Ravenna are those of S. Vitale, of S. Agata, of S. Domenico, all with a representation of the Virgin between two or more saints, and with some graceful cherubs playing above. There are others more laboured, which please us less, and demonstrate that to succeed in grand compositions, it is previously necessary to have studied the great schools. Luca had a daughter, named Barbara, yet a child at the period when Vasari published his work, but who had begun to paint "with a tolerable degree of grace and manner." From the hand of this lady there is only a single specimen remaining in public. Respecting a son of Luca, named Francesco, the historian is wholly silent, being, doubtless, at the time he wrote, still younger than his sister, but who became an artist in maturer years. In 1576 he produced a picture for the church of the Carmine, and there are accounts of him, even down to 1610. He chiefly pursued the steps of his father, though he is more common in his countenances, and more feeble in point of colouring, which he copied rather from Vasari.

Francesco Scannelli mentions a pupil of Raffaello [Pg 84]at Cesena[TN5], omitted by all other historians, named Scipione Sacco. He painted a picture of S. Gregory for the cathedral of Cesena, in a grand style,[17] and the Death of St. Peter the Martyr for the church of S. Domenico. Doubtless he was of Raffaello's school, and not remembered out of Romagna.

While the family of the Longhi was employed at Ravenna, that of the Minzocchi, which was surnamed San Bernardo, was distinguishing itself at Forli. Francesco, called also the elder di S. Bernardo, studied the works of Palmigiani in his native place; and there remain pictures conducted in his youth, but feeble in point of design, such as his Crucifixion at the Padri Osservanti. But under Genga, according to Vasari, and, as some writers add, under Pordenone, he changed his manner, assuming a more correct style, graceful, animated, and of an expression which looks like nature herself in these his subsequent productions. Among the works he executed with most care are two lateral pictures at the cathedral of Loreto, in a chapel of S. Francesco di Paola. These consist of a Sacrifice of Melchisedec, and the miracle of the Manna, in which the prophets and the principal characters boast all the dignity and nobleness of drapery becoming the school of Pordenone. The crowd, however, is represented in the most popular features and attitudes, sufficient almost to excite [Pg 85]the envy of Teniers, and the most natural artists of the Flemish school. His delineations in these pictures, of numerous and various animals, are expressed to the life, with baskets and different utensils like reality, though the attempt to excite our mirth in treating serious subjects has a bad effect. Scannelli extols a specimen of his works in fresco at S. Maria della Grata in Forli, representing the Deity on the ceiling, surrounded by a number of angels; figures full of spirit, majestic, varied, and painted with a power and skill of foreshortening, which entitles him to greater celebrity than he enjoys. He left a variety of productions, likewise, at S. Domenico, at the cathedral, and at private houses in his native place, where such is his reputation, that on the chapels being taken down, his least celebrated frescos were carefully cut out, and replaced elsewhere. Among his sons and pupils were Pietro Paolo, mentioned also by Vasari, and Sebastiano, both artists of the same natural style, not very select, with little relief, and mediocrity of invention. To Pietro Paolo belong several figures at the Padri Francescani at Forli, of feeble execution; and to Sebastiano a picture at S. Agostino, composed in 1593 in the ancient taste, and of a style like his other works, inferior to the character of his age.

Subsequent to the elder Minzocchi, Forli produced two other artists deserving commemoration; namely, Livio Agresti, conspicuous in the histories [Pg 86]of Vasari and Baglione, as a daring designer, a copious composer, and universal in point of manner; the other, Francesco di Modigliana, an artist of more limited genius, but still deserving to be known. Of Livio, I spoke in the third epoch of the Roman School, to which, as pupil to Perino, and resident in Rome, where he was employed at the Castello, in the Vatican, at S. Spirito and elsewhere, he doubtless belongs. His native place, however, seems to have culled the fairest fruit of his labours, Rome possessing nothing nearly so Raffaellesque, as are his Scriptural Histories in the public palace at Forli. Nor ought we to pass over that finely decorated chapel in the cathedral, where he represented the Last Supper, with some majestic figures of the prophets upon the ceiling; a work that for depth and intricacy of perspective yields in nothing to Minzocchi. I shall not stop to inquire, with Malvasia, whether having gone to Rome in a moment of disgust and in haste, instead of there advancing himself, he wholly failed; but of this I am convinced, that his history in the Cappella Paolina, is by no means his masterpiece.

Francesco di Modigliana is said to have been pupil to Pontormo, in whose school he almost fills the same rank as Bronzino in that of Florence; not remarkably powerful, nor always consistent with himself, but very graceful and beautiful, and deserving a place in our pictoric Lexicons, where his name is wanting. His works at Urbino consist of those which are pointed out under the name of [Pg 87]Francesco da Forli; a picture of Christ taken down from the cross, in oil, at S. Croce; and some angels in fresco at S. Lucia; productions much commended, and resembling in style his best at the Osservanti in Forli, and at the Rosario in Rimini. Here, perhaps, he most distinguished himself; in his picture of Adam driven from Eden, his Deluge, the Tower of Babel, with similar histories already treated by Raffaello at Rome, and by Agresti in Forli, from imitating whom, if I mistake not, he greatly improved and advanced himself. Dying suddenly he left his work imperfect, afterwards continued by Gio. Laurentini, called Arrigoni, who painted the Death of Abel at the same place.

After Bartolommeo da Rimini, who inclined more towards the modern than the ancient style, I find no other artist of celebrity in that city besides Arrigoni. Even his name has not been recorded by Orlandi, nor by his continuator. He diligently employed himself in his native place, and two of his pictures representing martyrdoms, met with surprising success; one of St. John the Baptist, at the Augustine friars, and another of the Saints John and Paul, at the church bearing their name. Yet they do not display that beau ideal, so attractive at that period in the productions even of the inferior disciples of the Roman School; but they convey the impression of grand compositions, a vivacity of action, a boldness of hand, a splendor in the retinue of horse and arms, and military ensigns, [Pg 88]calculated to compete with the chief part of the painters employed at Rome in the service of Gregory and of Sixtus.

Faenza, too, at the opening of this epoch, boasted her Jacopone, or Jacomone, of whom we treated among the assistants of Raffaello, and among the masters of Taddeo Zuccaro. Vasari makes brief mention and smaller account of this artist; recording only one of his productions, the tribune of S. Vitale at Ravenna, and which has ceased to exist. In the cupola of the church, however, subsequently repainted by another hand, there were visible, in the time of Fabri, author of "Ravenna Ricercata," (researches in that city) several figures of saints richly apparelled, bearing this inscription: "Opus Jacobi Bertucci et Julii Tondutii Faventinorum. Pari voto f. 1513."[18] At present I [Pg 89]no longer doubt but that under this Jacopo was concealed the name of Jacopone di Faenza, though according to Orlandi they were two several painters, and though it has never occurred to Baldinucci and Bottari, and other writers of pictoric history, to unite them into one. My conjecture is founded upon a picture which I saw in the church of the Dominican nuns in Faenza, representing the Birth of the Virgin, with the name of Jacopo Bertucci of Faenza, and dated 1532. It is a work which arrests the eye by its resemblance to the style of Raffaello, though his harmonious gradations have not been well observed, and the colouring inclines more to the strong than to the beautiful. The women busied about the couch of St. Anne are beautiful, graceful, and animated figures, and there are some animals, and in particular a fowl, which a Bassano himself would not have been sorry to have painted. Now what [Pg 90]other Jacopo of Faenza could in the year 1532, have painted in this style, with more shew of reason and probability than Jacopone da Faenza, whose family would here appear to be discovered?

The same city possesses a variety of other pieces by this Bertucci, and in the soffitto of S. Giovanni, various histories, both of the Old and New Testament, were pointed out to me as his. There too are several of inferior character attributed to another Bertucci, his son, an artist who in his heads repeats the same idea, even to satiety. Still his merit ought not, I think, to be estimated from a single work, but rather from some pictures cited by Crespi.[19] One of these is the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, animated and high toned in its colours, beautiful in point of design and character, and worthy of decorating the Ercolani collection at Bologna. Upon it is inscribed "Bertucius pinxit, 1580." The other is at the Celestini of Faenza, a singular work, as Crespi denominates it, from which he appears to have learnt the proper name of this younger Bertucci, whom he calls Giambatista. Baldinucci treats of Jacopone at the commencement of his fifth volume, and on the credit of Count Laderchi, he enumerates his different paintings, which then remained at Faenza. Of his surname he mentions nothing; nothing of his altar-piece of the Nativity; nothing of S. Vitale; nothing of the son, or the other artist of Faenza lately alluded to. He adds, that [Pg 91]works of Jacopone were to be seen up to the year 1570, but I believe these last to have belonged to the son, inasmuch as the father, at the period when Vasari wrote, was already deceased. Other pictures by this artist are mentioned, painted in glowing and attractive colours, and in particular the Baptizing of Christ, preserved in the public collection, valuable from its giving the epoch of 1610, which must have been towards the close of his days.

By Giulio Tonduzzi there is pointed out at Ravenna the Stoning of St. Stephen, on the large altar of a church consecrated to that saint, a beautiful picture, but not indisputably proved to be his. I conjecture it to be a copy of the St. Stephen that decorates the church of Faenza, in which the whole style of Giulio Romano is apparent; so much so, that it has been attributed to him, a mistake arising from resemblance of names; but Tonduzzi is known to have been Giulio's pupil. I omit other productions of this excellent artist, though I ought to notice, that in the soffitto of S. Giovanni, he also painted several sacred histories, in competition with all the first artists, who then flourished at Faenza, on which account that very cultivated city has preserved the whole of these paintings, although much defaced by age, in the Lyceum collection, belonging to the commune, mentioned in other places. I also find one M. Antonio da Faenza, commended by Civalli for a very excellent picture, possessing fine relief, at the church of the [Pg 92]Conventuali of Monte Lupone, in the Marca, dated 1525. Contemporary with these must have been Figurino da Faenza, enumerated by Vasari among the best disciples of Giulio Romano, though I meet with no mention of him elsewhere. It is conjectured, however, with good reason, that Figurino was only a surname given to Marc Antonio Rocchetti, a painter of great reputation at Faenza, who in youth took great delight in minute drawing, producing, among other pieces, little histories of St. Sebastian, for the ornament of that church, now destroyed, when they came into possession of various individuals who treasure them up in the present day. In maturer years he enlarged his manner, attaching himself to the imitation of Baroccio, which he did with a simplicity of composition and sweetness of tints, that made him conspicuous in different churches which he adorned, as we may gather from the picture of the titular Saint at S. Rocco, with the year 1604, the latest period which we find mentioned on his productions. In the Communal collection, also, there is seen a picture of the Virgin, known in Faenza under the name of the Madonna of the Angels, with a St. Francis, a holy bishop, and two portraits below. It bears the inscription, M. Antonius Rochettus Faventinus pingebat, 1594. It was requisite to mention this picture, which I find extolled above all other specimens that have remained. The name of Niccolo Paganelli, before unknown to us, is also met with in the Oretti correspondence, contained [Pg 93]in a letter of Zanoni, which we cite in treating of Benedetto Marini. He is supposed to have been a good pupil of the Roman School, and some attribute to him the fine picture of S. Martino, in the cathedral of Faenza, the supposed work of Luca Longhi. His genuine pictures are recognized by the initials N.+P.

Subsequent to the period of Jacopone, who never acquired fortune, Marco Marchetti greatly distinguished himself. So at least he is named by Baglione, or Marco da Faenza, according to Vasari, who observes that he was "particularly experienced in regard to frescos; bold, decided, terrible; and especially in the practice and manner of drawing grotesques, not having any rival then equal to him." Nor perhaps has any artist since appeared who equals him in this respect, and in happily adapting to grotesques little histories, full of spirit and elegance, and with figures which form a school for design. Such is the Slaughter of the Innocents, in the Vatican. He succeeded Sabbatini in the works of Gregory XIII. and entered the service of Cosmo I. for whom he decorated the Palazzo Vecchio at Florence. He painted little in his own country, though a few pieces in oil are still pointed out, and an arch in a public way, with festoons of flowers, monsters, and capricci, resembling the work of an ancient artist. The whole reminds us of mythology and erudition, while at subsequent periods it became customary in this [Pg 94]kind of painting to dare every extravagance and excess. Perhaps his most finished piece adorns the Communal collection, representing the Feast of Christ in the house of the Pharisee. His death occurred in 1588. Contemporary with him flourished Gio. Batista Armenini, also of Faenza, an able artist, and author of the "True Precepts of Painting,"[20] published at Ravenna in 1587, a work that re-appeared in the ensuing century at Venice. In fact Armenini was a better theorist than a practitioner; nor has he any production in his native place, except a large picture of the Assumption, on which he inscribed Jo. Bapt. Armenini primiliæ, meaning, that it was among the first, or perhaps the very first altar-piece which he ever painted. Perotti, the author of certain Farragini,[21] which are still preserved in the library of the Seminary at Faenza, there observes, that Armenini was a pupil of Perin del Vaga. Nor is there a great interval between him and Cristoforo Lanconello, an artist of Faenza, first discovered to us in the letter of Crespi, just before cited. He is celebrated for his picture in the Casa Ercolani, in which the Virgin appears crowned with a glory, attended by Saints Francis and Chiara, and two more; a work displaying great freedom of hand, beauty of colouring, fine airs of the heads, and altogether in the composition of Barocci.

[Pg 95]We must not take our leave of the Cinquecentisti[22] without first noticing a cavalier of Faenza, who flourished till the year 1620, in which he died at the age of 83. His name was Niccolo Pappanelli, and such was his enthusiasm for the art, that he attended all the most distinguished masters then in vogue at Rome. On his return to his native place, he produced, along with some pieces of mediocrity, a few of an exquisite character, such as his picture of S. Martino at the cathedral, so well executed in point of design, force of colouring, and expression, as to be truly admirable. He, too, attempted to follow in the track of Barocci.

Other artists of Romagna, belonging to this period, are treated of in the schools where they chiefly flourished, such as Ingoli of Ravenna, at Venice, Zaccolini of Cesena at Rome, and Ardente, a native of Faenza, in Piedmont.

[11] In vol . iv. p. 47.

[12] Foreshortening figures; here meant on a ceiling.

[13] This worthy writer would appear to have been aware that he sometimes exceeded due bounds. In the course of that work we meet with other expressions highly creditable to Vasari; and it is well known, that having spoken contemptuously of Raffaello, by designating him boccalaio Urbinate, the potter of Urbino, because some vases there had been painted from his designs, "he repented of the expression so much as to lead him to erase it from as many copies of the work as he could meet with." Lett. Pitt. vol. vii. p. 130.

[14] In the original the term used for these cotton merchants is bambagiai.

[15] In the Italian called promassaro.

[16] See vol . iv. p. 43.

[17] On this picture is inscribed, Cæsenas, 1545. Oretti, Memorie, MSS.

[18] Sig. Abbate Zannoni, a librarian in Faenza, assisted by Sig. Zauli, a distinguished professor of design in that Lyceum, has made some clever remarks upon that school. They observe that this date of Fabri must be erroneous, it not being possible for Jacopone to have commenced painting in 1513, and much less Tonduzzi, pupil to Giulio Romano, probably, in Mantua: I suspect that the order of the last two figures should be inverted, so as to read 1531.

They inform me that I was misled in supposing the picture of the Dominican Nuns to be from the hand of Jacopone, its great height preventing me from distinguishing the name. It belongs to his nephew and pupil, Gian Batista, and thus resembles his style, though coloured with stronger tints in the taste of Titian, whom he is known to have greatly consulted in after years. Other pictures of Jacopone might be cited, that still exist, but injured by time and by retouches of other destroyers. Yet, they continue, all are surpassed by a figure that was placed at the Celestini, and is now in the general collection. It represents St. John pointing out to the ecclesiastic who ordered the picture, the Virgin crowned, between Saints Celestino and Benedetto; a grand piece wonderfully preserved, formed upon the composition of Raffaello, and coloured after Titian. On the right side is written, "F. Jo. Bapt. Para Brasius hoc opus ob devotionem fieri jussit anno domini 1565:" (the most assured epoch of his life;) and on the left hand, "Et semper Jacobius Bertusius F. (for Faventinus) invicto tandem Momo faciebat." Who this Momo was, against whose desire (since we must read invito) he completed the picture, I know not; whether a painter, or perhaps a friar, whom Jacopone's dilatoriness had offended, and who wished to substitute another artist, in which good office he did not succeed.

[19] Lettere Pittoriche, vol. vii. p. 66.

[20] Veri Precetti della Pittura.

[21] A mixture of all styles and subjects

[22] Artists of the fifteenth century.

[Pg 96]



The Caracci, their Scholars, and their Successors, until the time of Cignani.

To write the history of the Caracci and their followers would in fact be almost the same as to write the pictoric history of all Italy during the last two centuries. In our preceding books we have taken a survey of almost every school; and everywhere, early or late, we have met with either the Caracci or their pupils, or at least with their successors, employed in overthrowing the ancient maxims, and introducing new, until we reach the period when there was no artist who, in some respect or other, might not be said to belong to their school. Now, as it is grateful to the traveller, after long following the course of some royal river, to ascend still higher to its source, so I trust it will, in like manner, prove delightful to my readers, to be here made acquainted with those principles that conferred this new style upon the world of art, and in a short time filled with its specimens, and took the lead of every individual school. What, in my opinion, too, is still more surprising is, that it should owe its origin to Lodovico Caracci, a young artist, [Pg 97]who appeared of a slow, inactive intellect in early years, and better adapted to grind colours than to harmonize and apply them. He was advised, both by Fontana, his master at Bologna, and by Tintoretto[TN6], who directed his studies in Venice, to adopt a new profession, as quite unqualified for the art of painting; his fellow pupils likewise bantering him with the epithet of the ox, in allusion to his extreme dulness and tardiness. Indeed, every thing seemed to conspire to discourage him; he alone did not despair; from the obstacles he had to encounter he only gathered courage, and inducements to rouse, not to alarm himself. For this, his dilatory character, did not spring from confined genius, but from deep penetration; he shunned the ideal of the art as a rock on which so many of his contemporaries had suffered shipwreck; he pursued nature every where; he exacted of himself a reason for every line he drew; and considered it the duty of a young artist to aim only at doing well, until at length it grows into a habit, and such habit assists him in expediting his work.

Resolute, then, in his purpose, after having studied the best native artists in Bologna, he proceeded to do the same under Titian and Tintoretto at Venice. Thence he passed to Florence, and improved his taste from the pictures of Andrea, and the instructions of Passignano. At that period, the school of the Florentines had attained to that crisis, described in treating of its fourth epoch. [Pg 98]Nothing could be more advantageous to young Lodovico than to observe there the competition between the partizans of the old and the new style; nor could there be better means of ascertaining the causes of the decline, and of the revival of the art. Such a scene was assuredly of the greatest use to him, though hitherto not much noticed, in attempting the reform of painting, and carrying it to a higher degree of perfection. The most eminent Florentines, with the view of improving the languid colouring of their masters, turned to the models of Coreggio and his followers; and their example, I am of opinion, induced Lodovico to leave Florence for Parma, where, observes his historian, he wholly devoted himself to that master and to Parmigianino. On his return to Bologna, although well received and esteemed as a good artist, he soon became aware that a single individual, so reserved and cautious as he was, could ill compete with an entire school; unless, following the example of Cigoli at Florence, he were to form a party among the rising pupils at Bologna.

In the first instance, he sought support in his own relatives. His brother Paolo cultivated the art, but was deficient both in judgment and in ability, and calculated only to execute with mediocrity the designs of others. On him he placed no reliance, but a good deal on two of his cousins. He had a paternal uncle named Antonio, by profession a tailor, who educated his two sons, Agostino [Pg 99]and Annibale, at home. Such was their genius for design, that Lodovico was accustomed to say in his old age, that he had never had, during his whole professional career, a single pupil to equal them. The first devoted his attention to the goldsmith's art—always the school of the best engravers; the second was at once the pupil and assistant of his father in his calling. Though brothers, their dispositions were so opposite, as to render their society insufferable to each other, and they were little less than enemies. Accomplished in letters, Agostino always sought the company of learned men; there was no science on which he could not speak; at once a philosopher, a geometrician, and a poet; of refined manners, ready wit, and averse to the pursuits of the crowd. Annibale, on the contrary, neglected letters, beyond the mere power of reading and writing, while a natural bluntness of manner inclined him to taciturnity, and when compelled to speak, it was mostly in a satirical, contemptuous, or disputing tone.

On devoting themselves, at the suggestion of Lodovico, to the pictoric art, they still found themselves opposed to each other in genius, as they were in manners. Agostino was timid, and extremely select, backward in resolve, difficult to please himself, and was never aware of a difficulty that he did not encounter, and attempt to vanquish it. Annibal, in common with numbers of artificers, was an expeditious workman, intolerant of doubts [Pg 100]and delays, eagerly seeking every remedy for the intricacies of the art, trying the most easy methods, and to perform much in little time. Had they indeed fallen into other hands, Agostino would have become a new Samacchini, Annibal a new Passerotti; and painting would have owed no improvement to their efforts. But their cousin's fine judgment led him, in their education, to imitate Isocrates, who, instructing Ephorus and Theopompus, was accustomed to say, that he was compelled to apply spurs to the one, and a rein to the other. With similar views he consigned Agostino to Fontana, as an easy and rapid master, and retained Annibal in his own studio, where works were carried to higher perfection. By such means too he kept them apart, until riper age should by degrees remove the enmity subsisting between them, and convert it into a bond of amity, when devoted to the same profession, they might unite their capital, and mutually assist each other. In a few years he succeeded in reconciling them, and in 1580 he placed them at Parma and at Venice, of which an account has been given under those schools. During this period Agostino collected materials for his varied learning, and enlarged his design; and as before leaving Bologna he had made great progress in engraving under Domenico Tibaldi, he continued in Venice to practise it under Cort with such success, as to excite his master's jealousy, who drove him, but in vain, from his studio; for Agostino was already esteemed the [Pg 101]Marc Antonio of his time. Annibal, devoted to a single aim, both at Parma and Venice continued to paint, availing himself of the works and conversation of illustrious men, with whom at that period the Venetian School abounded. It was then, or shortly subsequent, that he executed his beautiful copies of Coreggio, Titian, and Paul Veronese; in whose taste he also conducted some small pictures. Several specimens of these I saw in possession of the Marchese Durazzo at Genoa, displaying opposite, but very graceful styles.

Returning accomplished artists into their native place, they struggled long and nobly with their fortunes. Their first undertakings consisted of the exploits of Jason, in a frieze of the Casa Favi; these, though conducted with the assistance of Lodovico, were vituperated with excessive scorn by the old painters, as deficient both in elegance and correctness. To this censure, the credit of these masters who had flourished at Rome, who were extolled by the poets, adorned with diplomas, and regarded by the declining age as pillars of the art, seemed to give weight. Their disciples echoed their words, and the crowd repeated them; and such murmurs proceeding from a public, gifted with as much volubility in conversation as would suffice for purposes of declamation or controversy elsewhere, wounded the feelings of the Caracci, overwhelmed and depressed them. I was informed by the accomplished Cav. Niccolò Fava, that Lodovico's change of fortune, [Pg 102]along with that of his cousins, occurred on an occasion, and at a period little differing from the above; which is supported by a tradition to the same effect. The two cousins had executed the frieze in the same hall where Cesi adorned another, in opposition to it, with histories of Æneas, which we have already mentioned, (p. 74). The work, conducted in the old style, was certainly beautiful, but Lodovico, in the new, painted another chamber with other histories, twelve in number, of Æneas, of which mention is made in the Guide of Bologna, (p. 14); histories in no way inferior to those in the Casa Magnani. Here was the beginning of the Caracci's fortune, and of the fall of the old masters, Bologna at length preparing to do justice to the worth of that divine artist, and to verify in respect to Cesi that sentence of Hesiod, of which, to the best of my ability, I here offer a version from the Greek, as follows:

Folle chi al più potente fa contrasto!
Che perde la vittoria; e sempre al fine,
Oltra lo scorno, di dolor si è guasto!
Opera V. 210.
Fool, that will dare to cross the path of one
More powerful! and ever to the loss
Of victory, at last add scorn and grief.

It was now that the Caracci, more than ever confident in their style, answered the voice of censure only by works full of vigour and nature, opposed to the works of older masters, feeble and void of truth. By such means that revolution of style [Pg 103]which had so long been meditated, at length took place; but it became necessary, in order to accelerate it, to bring over the students of the art to their party, the better to insure the hopes of a new and improved era. This too the Caracci achieved, by opening an academy of painting at their house, which they entitled Degli Incamminati, supplying it with casts, designs, and prints, in the same manner as those of their rivals; besides introducing a school for the drawing of the naked figure, and for the study of anatomy and perspective: in short, every thing requisite to the art; directing the whole with a skill added to a kindness that could not fail to procure it abundance of pupils. In particular, the fiery temper of Dionisio Calvart contributed to fill it, who, being in the habit of striking, and even wounding his disciples, drove Guido, Albano, and Domenichino, to transfer their talents to the studio of the Caracci. Panico too entered it from the school of Fontana, and from all sides the best young artists assembled, drawing after them fresh ranks of students. Finally, the other academies were closed; every school was left to solitude; every name gave way before that of the Caracci; to them the best commissions, to them the meed of praise were accorded. Their humbled rivals soon assumed another language, especially when the grand hall of Magnani was thrown open, presenting the wonders of the new Carraccesque art. It was then Cesi declared that he would become a disciple of the new school; and Fontana [Pg 104]only lamented that he was too grey-headed to keep pace with it, while Calvart alone, with his usual bravado, ventured to blame the work, being the last of all to recant, or at least to become silent.

It is now time to record the pursuits and the maxims of an academy, which, besides educating many illustrious pupils, perfected the art of their masters; and confirmed the axiom, that the shortest method of learning much is that of teaching. The three brothers were on the most perfect understanding as to the art of teaching, as free from venality as from envy; but the most laborious branches of the professorship were sustained by Agostino. He had drawn up a short treatise of perspective and architecture, from which he expounded to the school. He explained the nature of the bones and muscles, designating them by their names, in which he was assisted by Lanzoni the anatomist, who also secretly provided the school with bodies for such dissections as were required. His lectures were sometimes founded upon history, at others upon fictions; and these he illustrated, and offered for designs, which being exhibited at stated intervals, were examined by skilful judges, who decided upon their respective merits; as we gather from a ticket written to Cesi, one of the arbiters. The meed of fame was sufficient for the crowned candidates, round whom the poets collected to celebrate their name; with whom Agostino enthusiastically joined both with harp and voice, applauding the progress of his scholars. These last were likewise [Pg 105]instructed in true criticism, and to give due praise or blame to the works of others; they were also taught to criticise their own works, and whoever could not give good reasons for what he had done, and defend his own work, must cancel it upon the spot. Each, however, was at liberty to pursue what path he pleased, or rather each entered upon that to which nature had best adapted him, which gave rise to so many original manners from the same studio; yet each style was to be founded upon reason, nature, and imitation. In all more doubtful points, recourse was had to the opinion of Lodovico; the cousins presided over the daily exercises of design, full of assiduity, industry, and perseverance. Even the recreations of the academicians had a view to art; to draw landscapes from nature, or to sketch caricatures, were the customary amusements of Annibale and the disciples of the school, when they wished to relax from study.[23]

[Pg 106]The maxim of uniting together the study of nature, and the imitation of the best masters, already touched upon in the outset of this book, formed the real foundation of the school of Caracci; although they took care to modify it according to particular talents, as we have seen. Their object was to collect into one whatever they found most valuable in other schools, and in this process they observed two methods. The first resembles that of the poets, who, in several Canzoni, propose different models for imitation; in one, for instance, borrowing from Petrarch, in another from Chiabrera, in a third from Frugoni. The second method is like that of those, who, being masters of these three styles, form and harmonize them into one, like Corinthian metal, composed of various other kinds. Thus the Caracci, in some of their compositions, were accustomed to present different styles in a variety of different figures. So Lodovico, in his Preaching of St. John the Baptist, at the church of the Certosini (where Crespi is especially opposed to Paul Veronese), has exhibited the audience of the saint in such a manner that a judge described them by these names:—the Raffaellesque, the Tizianesque, and the imitator of Tintoretto. Annibal too, who had long admired only Coreggio, having finally adopted Lodovico's maxim, painted his celebrated picture for the church of St. George, where, in his figure of the Virgin, he imitated Paolo; in that of the Divine Infant and St. John, Coreggio; in St. [Pg 107]John the Evangelist he exhibited Titian; and in the very graceful form of St. Catherine, the sweetness of Parmigianino. Most generally, however, they pursued the second path, and still more examples might be adduced of less apparent and more free and mixed imitations, so modified as to produce a whole of a perfectly original character. And the ingenious Agostino, emulating the ancient legislators, who embodied all their laws in a few verses, composed that very picturesque, rather than poetical sonnet, in praise of Niccolino Abati, but which also well explains the maxim of their school, in selecting the peculiar merits of each different style. It has been handed down to us by Malvasia, in his life of Primaticcio, and runs as follows:—

Chi farsi un buon pittor brama e desia
Il disegno di Roma abbia alla mano,
La mossa coll'ombrar Veneziano,
E il degno colorir di Lombardia;
Di Michelangiol la terribil via,
Il vero natural di Tiziano,
Di Coreggio lo stil puro e sovrano,
Di un Raffael la vera simmetria;
Del Tibaldi il decoro e il fondamento,
Del dotto Primaticcio l'inventare,
E un po' di grazia del Parmigianino:
Ma senza tanti studii e tanto stento
Si ponga solo l'opre ad imitare
Che qui lasciocci il nostro Niccolino.

To paint for fame, who nurtures high desire,
Will Rome's design keep ever in his view;
To the Venetian shade and action true,
Of Lombardy's whole colouring never tire;
[Pg 108]Kindle at Michael's terrors, and his fire,
Seize Titian's living truth, who nature drew;
Allegri's pure and sovereign graces too;
To heavenly Raphael's symmetry aspire:
Tibaldi's solid sense, appropriate air,
And Primaticcio's learn'd inventive thought,
With Parmigiano's graceful sweetness fraught.
And should all these ask too much studious care,
Turn to our Niccolino's bright display
Of wondrous works, the envy of his day.

It is not easy to ascertain how far the Caracci may have carried this project, though it must always reflect the highest degree of credit upon them to have executed it in a superior manner to all other artists. In the outset they most felt their deficiency in their imitation of the antique, called by Agostino the design of Rome. He and Annibal, however, while residing there as strangers, in some measure reproduced and restored it to Roman artists themselves; and Lodovico, though remaining at Bologna, shewed that he was by no means unacquainted with it. At first, observes Mengs, they devoted much study to Coreggio, both in their ample outline and in their general design, although they did not observe the same exact equilibrium in their concave and convex lines, but rather affected the latter. There were other points which they did not attempt to include in such imitation, as in the shortening of the heads, and exhibiting them so very frequently with that smile so much repeated by the Parmigiani, by Barocci, and Vanni. They took their heads from [Pg 109]life, and improved upon them by general ideas of the beautiful. Hence Annibal's Madonnas, many of them of a small size on copper, exhibit a peculiar and original beauty derived from his studies; and the same may be said of Lodovico, who, in his softer heads, often gives the portrait of a lady named Giacomazzi, celebrated for her beauty at that time. The Caracci were extremely well-grounded in a knowledge of anatomy, and of the naked figure; and it would be manifest injustice not to give them credit for due estimation of Michelangiolo, whom they also imitated. One of them indeed is known to have said, with some acrimony towards the rival school, that Bonarruoti ought to have covered his bones with a little flesh, in the manner of their own Tibaldi. It is true they availed themselves less of the naked form in composition than the Florentines, though more largely than the other schools. In their costume, they were not so anxious to observe the exactness and richness of Paul Veronese, as the grandeur of his folds and form; nor did any other school give more ample flow of drapery, or arrange it with dignity more suitable to the figures.

Yet Mengs denies that they were consummate colourists, though they studied the Lombard and Venetian schools, an opinion confirmed by Lodovico's paintings in oil, which are faded and almost gone. This arose, either from the nature of his grounds, from too abundant use of oil, or from not allowing due time between preparing his canvass [Pg 110]and colouring it. The same remark will not apply to his frescos, which, on a near view, exhibit a boldness of hand equal almost to Paolo's; nor, in the opinion of Bellori, was there any work which, in point of colouring, reflected higher credit on the Caracci, and on the age, than their pictures in the Casa Magnani. They boast a truth, force, mixture, and harmony of colours, such as to entitle them also in this portion of the art to the praise of being reformers of the age. They effectually banished those wretched yellows, and other weak, washy tints, introduced from parsimony, in place of the azures and different colours of higher price. In this Bellori accords most merit to Annibal; declaring it was owing to him that Lodovico himself renounced his first method of colouring, which was formed on that of Procaccini.

In action and expression they aimed at vivacity, but without ever losing sight of propriety, of which they were extremely observant; and to which they were ready to sacrifice any of the graces of the art. In taste of invention and composition, they come near that of Raffaello. The Caracci were not lavish of their figures, conceiving twelve sufficient for any historical piece, except in crowds, or in battle-pieces, where they were still moderate, in order to give greater relief to particular groups. That they were competent to compose with judgment, learning, and variety, is fully apparent from their sacred histories represented [Pg 111]on altars, where they avoided, as much as possible, the very trite representation of a Madonna between various saints. This truth is still more remarkably shewn in their profane histories, and in none better than those of Romulus, in the family just before mentioned. The three relations there appear universal in the art, as perspective, landscape, and ornamental painters, masters of every style, and concentering in one point of view whatever is most desirable in any single work. The three artists seem to disappear in one; and the same is observed also in several galleries and churches of Bologna. They followed the same maxims, and in the same studio designed in union with one another, conferring and taking measures how best to complete every work in hand. In several instances it still remains matter of doubt whether pictures are to be attributed to Annibal or to Lodovico; and the three scriptural histories of the Sampieri, in which the three relations wished to display their respective powers, do not exhibit a diversity which might essentially characterize their respective authors. Some indeed there are who may detect in Lodovico a more general imitation of Titian, than is observable in the cousins, Agostino inclining more to the taste of Tintoretto, Annibal to that of Coreggio. It has sometimes been remarked that the figures of the first of the three are light in form, those of the third, robust; while those of Agostino hold a middle rank. At Bologna I found Lodovico enjoying [Pg 112]most repute for a certain elevation and grandeur; Agostino for his inventive powers; Annibal for grace. Every one must judge, however, according to his own views. It is now my duty to consider these separately.

Lodovico, doubtless, rises into the sublime in many of his works at Bologna. His picture of the "Probatica" so excellent both in point of architecture and the design of the figures; that of S. Girolamo, who, suspending his pen, turns towards heaven with a look and gesture so truly impressive and dignified; his Limbo of holy fathers, which, as if to renew his delight in it, he repeated in the cathedral of Piacenza, and sketched also under a Crucifixion at Ferrara: these have ever been regarded in that school as models of the sublime. Nevertheless, if we examine the "Assumption," at the Teresiani, the "Paradise," at the Barnabiti, or the "S. George," in which is represented that admirable virgin, who is seen seized with terror in the act of flight, it will be allowed that Annibal himself could not have exhibited more grace in his drawing of young maidens or of boys. More excelling, therefore, than great, Lodovico may be said to be transcendant in every character; and it would even seem that he had aimed at this boast in the two frescos that have perished, with which he decorated, at S. Domenico, the chapel of the Lambertini. In one he exhibited the holy founder, with S. Francis, in a manner very easy and pleasing to the eye, [Pg 113]with few lights and as few shades, but both powerful, and with few folds in the drapery; the countenances full of piety; insomuch that the whole performance, in the words of Malvasia, "rose to a pitch of grandeur not to be excelled." In the other piece he represented "Charity," in a style equally soft, graceful, and polished, and which was subsequently, says the historian, esteemed "the model and the rule of modern painting." He proceeds to relate, that Albani, Guido, and Domenichino all derived their sweetness from this source, in the same way, most probably, that Cavedoni took his first style from the S. Domenico; and from his Paul at the Conventuali Guercino acquired his grand power of chiaroscuro. In short, if we may give credit to history, Lodovico in his own school ranks like Homer among the Greeks, fons ingeniorum. Individual artists in him have recognized what constituted the character of their own knowledge, because in every branch of painting he was truly profound.[24]

The masterly dignity of his character appears to most advantage in the cloister of S. Michele in Bosco, where, assisted by his pupils, he represented the actions of St. Benedict and St. Cecilia [Pg 114]in thirty-seven separate histories. By his hand is the Conflagration of Mount Cassino, and some other portions; the remaining parts are by Guido, by Tiarini, by Massari, by Cavedoni, by Spada, by Garbieri, by Brizio, and other young artists. These paintings have been engraved, and are worthy of the reformers of that age. On beholding what we may term this gallery by different hands, we should be almost inclined to bestow upon the school of Lodovico this trite eulogy; that from it, as from the Trojan horse, there issued only princes. What does him still more honour is, that his relatives themselves, down to the least and last, uniformly venerated him as a preceptor, insomuch that Annibal, on the completion of the Farnese gallery, invited him to Rome, as the adviser, arbiter, and umpire of that work. He remained there less than two weeks, and then returning to his beloved Bologna, he survived Agostino seventeen years, and Annibal ten. Being separated from the two cousins, he employed himself at an advanced age in a manner less studied, but still exemplary and masterly. Nor ought a few slight inaccuracies of design to detract from the praise due to him, inaccuracies which he fell into about this period, as in the drawing of the hand of the Redeemer, in the act of calling St. Matthew to follow him, or in the foot of the Madonna of the Annunciation painted at S. Pietro, a fault which he saw too late, and it may be added, for which he died of affliction. Other less well founded criticisms [Pg 115]advanced against him by a traveller have been fully rebutted and confuted by the Can. Crespi.[25]

Agostino, occupied for the most part in engraving, painted but little, this employment supplying him at once with the means of subsistence, and of shining in the class of artists. Doubtless painting here sustained a loss, deprived of a genius equally calculated as his relations to promote the art. His powers of invention surpassed those of the other Caracci, and many rank him foremost in point of design. It is certain that in his engraving he corrected and improved upon the outlines of his originals. On his return from Venice he applied himself more effectually to colouring, and succeeded in that of a horse, so far as to deceive the living animal, a triumph so much celebrated in Apelles. He once competed with his brother Annibal for an altar-piece intended for the church of the Carthusians. His design was preferred; and it was then that in his Communion of S. Girolamo he produced one of the most celebrated pictures of which Bologna can boast. Nothing can be imagined finer than the expression of devotion in the aged saint, the piety of the priest at the communion, the looks of the spectators, who support the dying, who catch his last accents, committing them instantly to writing, lest they escape; countenances finely varied and animated, each breathing and speaking, as it were, peculiar mind. On its first exhibition, the pupils thronged around the [Pg 116]picture to make their studies, insomuch that Annibal, urged by jealousy, assumed more of his brother's taste, becoming more select and slow, contriving further to addict his brother to engraving; a plan in which he succeeded. He returned, as a painter, to Rome; and the fine representation of Poetry, so much admired in the Farnese gallery, was, in great part, owing to his talent; and the same may be said of the fables of Cephalus and Galatea, exquisitely graceful productions, which seem dictated by a poet, and executed by a Greek artist. Hence it was rumoured that in the Farnesian paintings the engraver had surpassed the painter; at which Annibal, no longer able to subdue his envy, removed his brother from the undertaking under a variety of false pretences; nor was any humility on the part of Agostino, any advice of his elders, or any mediation of the great, sufficient to appease him. Quitting Rome, Agostino entered into the service of the Duke of Parma, for whom he painted Celestial Love, Terrestrial Love, and Venal Love, to adorn one of the halls, a very beautiful work, which he terminated only just before his death. A single figure remained wanting, and this the duke would never consent to have supplied by any other hand. At the point of death he was seized with lively remorse, on account of his many licentious engravings and prints, and even wept bitterly. At that period he designed a picture of the Last Judgment, which, however, he was unable to complete. In the account [Pg 117]of his funeral, and in the oration recited on that occasion by Lucio Faberio, mention is made of a head of Jesus Christ, in the character of the universal judge, painted at that time, though unfinished, upon a black ground. Such a head is pointed out in the Albani palace at Rome, and duplicates exist elsewhere. In the features we see exhibited all that is at once most majestic and most terrible within the limits of the human imagination.

Annibal was greatly celebrated in Lombardy in every peculiar taste which he chose to pursue. In his earliest works Mengs declares that he traces the appearance, but not the depth and reality of Coreggio's style; but it is an appearance so extremely plausible, that it compels us to pronounce him one of the most perfect imitators of that consummate master. His Taking down from the Cross, at the church of the Capuccini in Parma, may challenge the most distinguished followers of the Parmese School. His picture of S. Rocco is still more celebrated, comprising the perfections of different artists, a piece engraved in aqua forte by Guido Reni. It was executed for Reggio, thence transferred to Modena, and from the last place to Dresden. He represented the saint, standing near a portico on a basement, and dispensing his wealth to poor mendicants; a composition not so very rich in figures as in knowledge of the art. A throng of paupers, as different in point of infirmity as in age and sex, is admirably varied, both in the grouping and the gestures. [Pg 118]One is seen receiving with gratitude, another impatiently expecting, a third counting his alms with delight; every object is misery and humiliation, and yet every thing seems to display the abundance and dignity of the artist. But proceeding to Rome in the year 1600, he entered on another career; "he checked his fire," observes Mengs, "he improved the extravagance of his forms, imitated Raffaello and the ancients, retaining at the same time a portion of the style of Coreggio to support dignity." (Tom.ii. p. 19.) Albano makes use of nearly the same words in a letter given by Bellori, (p. 44,) adding, that Annibal, in the opinion of competent judges, "far surpassed his cousin, from a knowledge of the works of Raffaello, in addition to that of the most beautiful ancient statues." He was there employed in various churches, though his crowning effort, and nearly the whole foundation of the art, as restored by his means, are to be sought for in the Farnese palace. The subjects were selected by Monsig. Agucchi; and together with the allegories may be read in Bellori. In a small chamber he gave representations of the Virtues, such as his Choice of Hercules, Hercules sustaining the World, Ulysses the Liberator; in the gallery various fables of Virtuous Love, such as those of Arion and Prometheus; with others of Venal Love, among which a wonderful figure of a Bacchanal is one of the most conspicuous. The work is admirably distributed and varied with ovals, cornices, and with a variety of [Pg 119]ornamental figures, sometimes in stucco, at others in chiaroscuro, where the effect of his assiduous studies of the Farnesian Hercules is very apparent, as well as of the torso of the Belvidere, which he accurately designed, without even having the model before him. The whole of the other parts breathe Attic elegance combined with Raffaellesque grace, and imitations not only of his own Tibaldi but of Bonarruoti himself, no less than all the sprightly and the powerful added to the art by the Venetians and Lombards. This was the earliest production, where, as in Pandora's box, all the geniuses of the Italian schools united their several gifts; and in its fit place I described the astonishment created by it at Rome, with the revolution it occasioned in the whole art.

On account of this work he is ranked by Mengs next after the three leading masters in the fourth degree, and even esteemed supereminent in regard to the form of his virile figures. Poussin asserts, that after Raffaello there were no better compositions than these, and he prefers the decorative heads and figures already mentioned, with the other naked forms, in which the artist was said to have surpassed himself, even to his fables so beautifully painted. To him Baglione refers the method of colouring from nature, which was nearly lost, as well as the true art of landscape-painting, afterwards imitated by the Flemish. To these might likewise be added the use of caricatures, which no one better than he knew how to copy [Pg 120]from nature, and to increase with ideal power. In the Roman galleries many of Annibal's pictures are to be met with, conducted in this new style; and there is one in the Lancellotti palace, small, and painted a colla,[26] rivalling, I had almost said, the best pieces of Ercolani. It is a Pan teaching Apollo to play upon the pipe; figures at once designed, coloured, and disposed with the hand of a great master. They are so finely expressive, that we see in the countenance of the youth, humility, and apprehension of committing an error; and in that of the old man, turning another way, peculiar attention to the sound, his pleasure in possessing such a pupil, and his anxiety to conceal from him his real opinion, lest he might happen to grow vain.[27]

No other pieces so exquisitely finished are found by his hand at Bologna, where there prevails the same strong party, commenced in the time of the Caracci, and which prefers Lodovico to Annibal. When we reflect that Annibal, in addition to the patrimony left by his school, conferred upon it the riches which the genius of the Greeks, throughout many ages and many places had collected to adorn their style; when we reflect on the progress, which, on observing his new style at Rome, was made by Domenichino, Guido, Albano, Lanfranco, with the new light which it afforded [Pg 121]to Algardi, according to the supposition of Passeri, in respect to sculpture, and the improvement which by his means took place in the very pleasing and attractive painting of Flanders and of Holland, we feel inclined to coincide with the general sentiment entertained beyond the limits of Bologna, that Annibal was the most eminent artist of his family. At the same time we may allow, that Agostino was the greater genius, and Lodovico, to whom we are indebted for both, the greater teacher of these three. As such, too, the learned Ab. Magnani, librarian and lecturer upon eloquence to the institution, assigns to him the office of teacher, in an able oration upon the fine arts, printed at Parma by Bodoni, along with others by the same author.

The three Caracci may be almost said to define the boundaries of the golden age of painting in Italy. They are her last sovereign masters, unless we are willing to admit a few of their select pupils, who extended that period during the space of some years. Excellent masters, doubtless, flourished subsequently; but after their decease, the powers of such artists appearing less elevated and less solid, we begin to hear complaints respecting the decline of the art. Nor were there wanting those who contended for a secondary age of silver, dating from Guido down to the time of Giordano, as well on account of the minor merit of the artists, as for the prices, so much greater than formerly, which Guido introduced into the art. The [Pg 122]Caracci themselves had been only scantily remunerated. Count Malvasia admits this fact, not omitting to point out the small dwelling, and to describe the narrow circumstances in which Lodovico died, while his two relatives left the world still more impoverished than himself. The Caracci, moreover, did not, like other painters, leave legitimate sons to perpetuate their school; they never married, and were accustomed to observe that the art was sole partner of their thoughts. And this beloved mistress they adored and served with a love so passionate, as to abandon almost all worldly care for themselves. Even while sitting at their meals they had the implements of their art before them; and wherever they observed an action or gesture adapted to adorn it, they took instant note of it. And to this their free estate, more than to any other cause, were they indebted for their noble progress and improvement. Had they "taken to themselves a wife," how easily would their agreeable friendship and attachment, from which each of the three derived light and knowledge from the rest, have been broken in upon by tattling and trifles beneath their care. Most probably, too, it might have occasioned too great rapidity of hand, at the expense of study; such at least having been the result with regard to many, who, to indulge a woman's taste, or to provide for the wants of a family, have addicted themselves to carelessness and despatch. At the period, then, of the decease of the two cousins, and the advanced [Pg 123]age of Lodovico, there remained of the family only two youths, one, named Francesco, at Bologna, the other, Antonio, in Rome.

Francesco was a younger brother of Agostino and Annibal. Confiding in his connexions and in his own talent, excellent in point of design, and reasonably good in colouring, he ventured to oppose a school of his own to that of Lodovico, his master, inscribing upon the door: "This is the true school of the Caracci." He enjoyed no reputation at Bologna, but was rather held in dislike, on account of his opposition to and detraction of Lodovico, to whom he owed what little he executed at that place, namely, an altar-piece, with various saints, at S. Maria Maggiore, the whole of which had been retouched by his kind and able cousin. Having gone to Rome, he was first received with applause, but becoming better known he was soon despised; and, without leaving a single specimen of his pencil, he died there in his twenty-seventh year, in the hospital. Antonio Caracci, a natural son of Agostino, and pupil to Annibal, was of a totally different disposition. Prudent, affectionate, and grateful to his relatives, he received Annibal's last sighs at Rome, bestowed upon him a splendid funeral in the same church of the Rotonda, where Raffaello's remains had been exhibited, and deposited his ashes at the side of that great artist. He survived, a valetudinarian, during some years, and died at the age of thirty-five, in Rome, where he left some works in the pontifical palace, and at S. [Pg 124]Bartolommeo. They are rarely met with in cabinets, though I saw one in Genoa, a Veronica, in possession of the Brignole family. Bellori Had written his life, which, although now lost, leads to the supposition that he possessed great merit, inasmuch as that writer confined himself to the commemoration of only first rate artists. Baldassare Aloisi, called Galanino, a kinsman and scholar of the Caracci, yielded to few of his fellow-pupils in his compositions. His picture of the Visitation, at the church of the Carità in Bologna, so much extolled by Malvasia, to say nothing of various other pictures, executed at Rome, and favourably recorded by Baglione, affords ample proofs of it. His fortune, however, was not equal to his merit; so that he wholly devoted himself to portraiture, and as we have stated, in the Roman School, he there for some period boasted the chief sway in the branch of portraits, which were uniformly characterized by great power and strong relief.

Other Bolognese artists, educated in the same academy, took up their residence also at Rome, or in its state; nor were they few in number, since, as was observed in the fourth epoch of that school, they were received there with distinguished favour. We shall commence with the least celebrated. Lattanzio Mainardi, called by Baglione Lattanzio Bolognese, had visited Rome previous to Annibal, and in the pontificate of Sixtus V., conducted several works for the Vatican, which augured well [Pg 125]of his genius, had he not died there very young; as well as one Gianpaolo Bonconti, at an age still more immature, having vainly followed his master to Rome, where he had only time to make a few designs, but conceived in the best taste. Innocenzio Tacconi was kinsman, according to some, and assuredly enjoyed the confidence of Annibale. From him he received designs and retouches, tending to make him appear a more considerable artist than he really was. To judge from some of his histories of St. Andrew, painted for S. Maria del Popolo, and S. Angiolo, in the fish-market, he may be said to have rivalled his best fellow-pupils. But abusing his master's goodness, and alienating his regard from Agostino, from Albano, and from Guido, by misrepresentations, he received the usual recompence of slanderers. Annibal withdrew his support, deprived of which he gradually became more and more insignificant. Anton Maria Panico early left Rome, and, entering the service of Mario Farnese, resided upon his estates, being employed in painting at Castro, at Latera, and at Farnese, in whose cathedral he placed his picture of the mass, to which Annibal also put his hand, even conducting some of the figures. Baldassare Croce is an artist enumerated by Orlandi among the pupils of Annibal; by Malvasia, among the imitators of Guido. Baglione describes him as superior in age to all three of the Caracci, introducing him into Rome as early as the times of Gregory. Towards [Pg 126]reconciling the accounts of these writers, it might be observed, that continuing to reside at Rome, he may have taken advantage, as he advanced in age, of the examples afforded by his noble fellow-citizens. His style, from what we gather of it in the public palace of Viterbo, and a cupola of the Gesù, as well as from his large histories of S. Susanna, and other places in Rome, is easy, natural, and entitling him to the name of a good mechanist and painter of frescos, but not so easily to that of a follower of the Caracci. Gio. Luigi Valesio entered, though late, into the same school, and chiefly attached himself to engraving and to miniature. Proceeding to Rome, he was there employed by the Lodovisi under the pontificate of Gregory XV., and obtained great honours. We find him commended in the works of Marini and other poets, though less for the art, in which he only moderately excelled, than for his assiduity and his fortune. He was one of those wits, who in the want of sound merit know how to substitute easier methods to advance themselves; seasonably to regale such as can assist them, to affect joy amidst utter humiliation, to accommodate themselves to men's tempers, to flatter, to insinuate, and to canvass interest, until they attain their object. By means like these he maintained his equipage in Rome, where Annibal, during many years, obtained no other stipend for his honourable toils, than a bare roof for his head, daily pittance for himself and his servant, [Pg 127]with annual payment of a hundred and twenty crowns.[28] In the few pieces executed by Valesio at Bologna, such as his Nunziata of the Mendicants, we perceive a dry composition of small relief, yet exact according to the method of the miniaturists. He appears to have somewhat improved at Rome, where he left a few works in fresco and in oil, exhibiting his whole power, perhaps, in a figure of Religion, in the cloister of the Minerva. To these artists of the Caracci school it will be sufficient only to have alluded. They were indeed no more than gregarious followers of those elevated standards of their age.

The five, however, who next follow, deserve a nearer view, and more accurate acquaintance with their merits. These, remaining indeed at Rome, became leaders of new ranks, which from them assumed their name and device; and hence we have alternately been compelled to record the disciples of Albano, of Guido, and so of the rest. This repetition, however, in other places, will now permit us to treat of them in a more cursory view.

Domenico Zampieri, otherwise Domenichino, is at this day universally esteemed the most distinguished pupil of the Caracci; and has even been preferred by Count Algarotti to the Caracci themselves. What is still more, Poussin ranked him directly next to Raffaello; and in the introduction to the life of Camassei, almost the same [Pg 128]opinion is given by Passeri. During the early part of his career his genius appeared slow, because it was profound and accurate; and Passeri attributes his grand progress more to his amazing study than to his genius. From his acting as a continual censor of his own productions, he became among his fellow pupils the most exact and expressive designer, his colours most true to nature, and of the best impasto, the most universal master in the theory of his art, the sole painter amongst them all in whom Mengs found nothing to desire, except a somewhat larger proportion of elegance. That he might devote his whole being to the art, he shunned all society, or if he occasionally sought it in the public theatres and markets, it was in order better to observe the play of nature's passions in the features of the people;—those of joy, anger, grief, terror, and every affection of the mind, and to commit it living to his tablets; and thus, exclaims Bellori, it was, he succeeded in delineating the soul, in colouring life, and rousing those emotions in our breasts at which his works all aim; as if he waved the same wand which belonged to the poetical enchanters, Tasso and Ariosto. After several years' severe study at Bologna, he went to Parma to examine the beautiful works of the Lombards; and thence to Rome, where he completed his erudite taste under Annibal, who selected him as one of his assistants.

His style of painting is almost theatrical, and he in general lays the scene amidst some splendid [Pg 129]exhibition of architecture,[29] which serves to confer upon his compositions a new and elevated character in the manner of Paul Veronese. There he introduces his actors, selected from nature's finest models, and animated by the noblest impulses of the art. The virtuous have an expression so sweet, so sincere, and so affectionate, as to inspire the love of what is good. And in the like manner do the vicious, with their guilty features, create in us as deep aversion to their vice. We must despair to find paintings exhibiting richer or more varied ornaments, accessaries more beautifully adapted, or more majestic draperies. The figures are finely disposed both in place and action, conducing to the general effect; while a light pervades the whole which seems to rejoice the spirit; growing brighter and brighter in the aspect of the best countenances, whence they first attract the eye and heart of the beholder. The most delightful mode of view is to take in the whole scene, and observe how well each personage represents his intended part. In general there is no want of an interpreter to declare what the actors think and speak; they bear it stamped upon their features and attitudes; and though gifted with audible words, they could not tell their tale to the ear, more plainly than they speak it to the eye. Surely, of this, we have proof in the Scourging of St. Andrew, at S. Gregorio, at Rome, executed in competition with [Pg 130]Guido, and placed opposite to his St. Andrew, in the act of being led to the gibbet. It is commonly reported that an aged woman, accompanied by a little boy, was seen long wistfully engaged with viewing Domenichino's picture, shewing it part by part to the boy, and next turning to the history by Guido, she gave it a cursory glance, and passed on. Some assert, that Annibal, being acquainted with the fact, took occasion from the circumstance to give his preference to the former piece. It is moreover added, that in painting one of the executioners, he actually threw himself into a passion, using threatening words and actions, and that Annibal surprising him at that moment, embraced him, exclaiming with joy, "To-day, my Domenichino, thou art teaching me!" So novel, and at the same time so natural it appeared to him, that the artist, like the orator, should feel within himself all that he is representing to others.

Yet this picture of the Scourging is in no way to be compared with the Communion of S. Jerome, or to the Martyrdom of S. Agnes, and other works, conducted in his riper years. The first of these is generally allowed to be the finest picture Rome can boast next to the Transfiguration of Raffaello; while the second was estimated by his rival Guido at ten times the merit of Raffaello's own pieces.[30] In these church paintings one great attraction consists in the glory of the angels, exquisitely [Pg 131]beautiful in feature, full of lively action, and so introduced as to perform the most gracious offices in the piece; the crowning of martyrs, the bearing palms, the scattering of roses, weaving the mazy dance, and waking sweet melodies. In the attitudes we often trace the imitation of Coreggio; yet the forms are different, and for the most part have a flatness of the nose, which distinguishes them, and gives them an air of comeliness. Much, however, as Domenichino delighted in oil-painting, he is more soft and harmonious in his frescos; some of which are to be seen, besides those in Naples, at Fano, but the greatest part of them were destroyed by fire. They consist of scriptural histories in a chapel of the cathedral; of mythological incidents in villa Bracciano, at Frascati; the acts of S. Nilo, at Grotta Ferrata; and various sacred subjects interspersed through different churches at Rome. In the corbels of the cupolas at S. Carlo a' Catinari, and at S. Andrea della Valle, he painted, at the former, the four Virtues, at the latter, the four Evangelists, still regarded as models after innumerable similar productions. At S. Andrea also are seen various histories of that saint in the tribune, besides those of St. Cecilia, at S. Luigi; others at S. Silvestro, in the Quirinal of David, and other scriptural subjects, which in point of composition and taste of costume are by some esteemed superior to the rest.

It seems almost incredible, that works like [Pg 132]these, which now engage the admiration of professors themselves, should once, as I have narrated, have been decried to such a degree, that the author was long destitute of all commissions, and even on the point of transferring his genius to the art of sculpture. This was in part owing to the arts of his rivals, who represented his very excellences as defects, and in part to some little faults of his own. Domenichino was less distinguished for invention than for any other branch of his profession. Of this, his picture of the Rosary at Bologna affords an instance, which neither at that period nor since has been fully understood by the public; and it is known not to have pleased even his own friends, which led the author to regret its production. Diffident thenceforward of his powers in this department, he often borrowed the ideas of others; imitated Agostino in his St. Jerome, the S. Rocco, of Annibal, in his almsgiving of St. Cecilia; and even other less eminent artists; observing, that in every picture he found something good, as Pliny said, that from every book we may cull some useful information. These imitations afforded occasion for his rivals to charge him with poverty of invention, procuring an engraving of Agostino's St. Jerome, of which they circulated copies, denouncing Domenico Zampieri as a plagiarist. Lanfranco, the chief agent in these intrigues, exhibited on the contrary only his own designs, invariably novel, and made a display of his own celerity and promptness of hand, as contrasted with [Pg 133]his rival's want of resolution and despatch. Had Domenichino enjoyed the same advantages of party as the Caracci in Bologna, which he well deserved, he would soon have triumphed over his adversaries, by proving the distinction between imitation and servility,[31] and that if his works were longer in being brought to perfection than his rival's, their reputation would be proportionally durable. The public is an equitable judge; but a good cause is not sufficient without the advantage of many voices to sanction it. Domenichino, timid, retired, and master of few pupils, was destitute of a party equal to his cause. He was constrained to yield to the crowd that trampled him, thus verifying the observation of Monsig. Agucchi, that his worth would never be rightly appreciated during his lifetime. The spirit of party passing away, impartial posterity has rendered him justice; [Pg 134]nor is there a royal gallery but confesses an ambition for his specimens. His figure pieces are in the highest esteem, and fetch enormous prices. He is rarely to be met with except in capital cities; his David is a first rate object of inquiry to all strangers visiting the college of Fano, who have the least pretensions to taste; the figure of the king, as large as life, being of itself sufficient to render an artist's name immortal.

There is a small, but inestimable picture of St. Francis, that belonged to the late Count Jacopo Zambeccari, at Bologna. The saint is seen in the act of prayer, and by the animated and flushed expression of the eyes, it appears as if his heart had just been dissolved in tears. Two pictures, likewise beautifully composed, I have seen at Genoa; the Death of Adonis bewailed by Venus, in the Durazzo Gallery just before mentioned, and the S. Rocco in the Brignole Sale, offering up prayers for the cessation of the plague. The attitude of the holy man; the eagerness of those who seek him; the tragic exhibition of the dying and the dead around him; a funeral procession going by; an infant seen on the bosom of its dead mother, vainly seeking its wonted nutriment; all shake the soul of the spectator as if he were beholding the real scene. Among his pictures from profane history the most celebrated is his Chase of Diana, in the Borghesi Palace, filled with spirited forms of nymphs, and lively incidents. In the same collection are some of his landscapes, as well as in that of [Pg 135]Florence; and some of his portraits in others. Here too he is excellent, but they are the least difficult branches to acquire. Respecting his other works, and the most eminent of his pupils, enough has been stated in the Roman and Neapolitan schools. He educated for his native place Gio. Batista Ruggieri; and to his numerous other misfortunes was added the pain of finding him ungrateful, after having rendered him eminent in his art. This pupil united with Gessi in quality of assistant; and as we shall shew, also took his denomination from him. Passeri dwells on this disappointment of Domenichino incidentally in his life of Algardi, (p. 198).

Next to Zampieri comes his intimate friend Francesco Albani, "who, aiming at the same object," observes Malvasia, "and adopting the same means, pursued the like glorious career." They agree in a general taste for select design, solidity, pathetic power, and likewise in their tints, except in Albani's fleshes being ruddier, and not unfrequently faded, from his method of laying on the grounds. In point of original invention he is superior to Domenichino, and perhaps to any other of the school; and in his representation of female forms, according to Mengs, he has no equal. By some he is denominated the Anacreon of painting. Like that poet, with his short odes, so Albani, from his small paintings, acquired great reputation; and as the one sings Venus and the Loves, and maids and boys, so does the artist hold up to the eye the [Pg 136]same delicate and graceful subjects. Nature, indeed formed, the perusal of the poets inclined, and fortune encouraged his genius for this kind of painting; and possessing a consort and twelve children, all of surprising beauty, he was at the same time blest with the finest models for the pursuit of his studies. He had a villa most delightfully situated, which farther presented him with a variety of objects, enabling him to represent the beautiful rural views so familiar to his eye. Passeri greatly extols his talent in this branch, remarking, that where others, being desirous of suiting figures to the landscape, or its various objects to one another, most frequently alter their natural colour, he invariably preserves the green of his trees, the clearness of his waters, and the serenity of the air, under the most lovely aspect; and contrived to unite them with the most enchanting power of harmony.

Upon such grounds, for the most part, he places and disposes his compositions, although he may occasionally introduce specimens of his architecture, in which he is equally expert. His pictures are often met with in collections, or to speak more correctly, they re-appear, inasmuch as both he himself made repetitions, and practised his pupils in them, giving them his own touches. He exhibits few bacchanals, avoiding figures that had already been so admirably treated by Annibal in many of his little pictures, from which, if I mistake not, Albano drew the first ideas of his style; adapting it to his own talent, which was not so elevated [Pg 137]as that of Annibal. His most favourite themes are the sleeping Venus, Diana in her bath, Danae on her couch, Galatea in the sea, Europa on the bull, a piece which is also seen on a large scale in the Colonna and Bolognetti collections at Rome, and in that of the Conti Mosca at Pesaro. How beautifully do those figures of the Loves throw their veil over the virgin, in order to protect her from the sun's rays, while others are seen drawing forward the bull with bands of flowers, or goading him in the side with their darts. At times he introduces them in the dance, weaving garlands, and practising with their bows at a heart suspended in the air for a target. Occasionally he conceals some doctrine, or ingenious allegory, under the veil of painting; as in those four oval pictures of the Elements in the Borghesi palace, which he repeated for the royal gallery at Turin. There too are Cupids seen employed in tempering Vulcan's darts; spreading their snares for birds upon the wing; fishing and swimming in the sea; culling and wreathing flowers, as if intended to represent the system of the ancients, who referred every work of nature to Genii, and with Genii accordingly peopled the world. To sacred subjects Albano devoted less attention, but did not vary his taste. The entire action of such pieces was made to depend on the ministry of graceful cherubs, in a manner similar to that which was subsequently adopted by P. Tornielli in his marine canzonettes, where, in every history of the Virgin and Holy Child, he introduces a throng of them as a sacred train. [Pg 138]Another very favourite repetition of idea is that of representing the Infant Christ, with his eye turned towards Heaven upon the angels, some in the act of bringing thorns, some the scourge, some the cross, or other symbols of his future passion. There is a picture of this kind in Florence, to which I alluded in the Description of the ducal gallery, and it is also found somewhat varied in two fine pieces; one at the Domenicani in Forli, the other in Bologna, at the Filippini. These, and other works of Albani, interspersed throughout different cities, as in Matelica, in Osimo, in Rimini, besides his fresco paintings in Bologna, at S. Michele in Bosco, at S. Jacopo, of the Spaniards at Rome, with the design of Annibal; these sufficiently exhibit his superior talent for large paintings, although he applied himself with greater zest and vigour to those on a smaller scale.

Albani opened an academy for several years at Rome, and at Bologna, invariably a competitor of Guido, both in his magisterial and his professional capacity.[32] Hence arose those strictures upon his style which Guido's disciples affected to despise as loose and effeminate, wanting elegance in the virile forms, while those of the boys were all of the same proportion, and his heads of the Holy Family, and of saints had always one idea. Similar [Pg 139]accusations, advanced likewise against Pietro Perugino, are not calculated to depress so great an artist's merit, so much as the esteem of Annibal, his own writings, and his pupils, serve to raise him in our regard. It is matter of historical fact that Annibal, seized with admiration of some of his small pictures, and among others a bacchante, seen at a fountain pouring out wine, purchased it, and declared that he had not even paid for the drops of water so exquisitely coloured by the wine. Of his writings there remain only a few fragments, preserved by Malvasia, not indeed reduced to method, a task that ought to devolve on some other pen, but highly valuable from the information and maxims which they contain. Among his pupils Sacchi and Cignani are in themselves sufficient to reflect credit upon their master, the first of whom sustained the art at Rome, the other at Bologna, and to whose efforts it was owing that its reputation so long continued in both those schools. There, moreover, we recounted the names of Speranza, and Mola, of Lugano, his noble disciples; and to these, besides Cignani, to whom we refer elsewhere, we can add a considerable number. Gio. Batista Mola, a Frenchman, long continued with Albano, and, according to Boschini, resided with the other Mola at Venice, where they copied a vast work of Paul Veronese for Cardinal Bichi. He displayed surprising skill in drawing rural scenes and trees, and being preferred by many in this branch to his master, he often added landscape to his master's figures, and occasionally adapted figures to his own [Pg 140]landscape, very beautiful, in Albani's style, but without his softness. In the excellent collection of the Marchesi Rinuccini, at Florence, is a picture of the Repose in Egypt, by the same hand. Two other foreign pupils also did him credit; Antonio Catalani, called Il Romano, and Girolamo Bonini, also from his native place, entitled l'Anconitano, who, in imitating Albani, was equalled by few, and who enjoyed his perfect confidence and friendship. Settling at Bologna, they there employed themselves with reputation in some elegant works, and left several histories in fresco in the public palace. In this last branch, Pierantonio Torri also distinguished himself, called, in Guarienti's lexicon, Antonio, dropping Pietro on the authority of the Passagiere disingannato; and Torrigli, in the Guide of Venice, where he painted the architectural parts in the church of S. Giuseppe for the figures of Ricchi. Filippo Menzani is known only as the attached disciple and faithful copyist of his master. Gio. Batista Galli, and Bartolommeo Morelli, the former called from his birth-place, Bibiena, the latter Pianoro, were similarly employed in taking copies from him; though the second applied to it with extreme reluctance, on account of Albani being "too highly finished, diligent, and laborious, for the task of copying." Both these artists are commended by the continuator of Malvasia. Bibiena, though he died early, conducted works that might be ascribed to Albani, in particular the Ascension at the Certosa, and his St. Andrew at the Servi in Bologna. Pianoro succeeded admirably well in his [Pg 141]frescos, more especially in the chapel of Casa Pepoli at S. Bartolommeo di Porta, decorated by him throughout in such exquisite taste, that, were history silent, it would be said to have been designed and coloured by Albani's own hand.

By some, Guido Reni is esteemed the great genius of the school; nor did any other single artist excite so much jealousy in the Caracci. Lodovico was unable to disguise it; and from a pupil he made him his rival, and in order to humble him, bestowed his favour on Guercino, an artist in quite another taste. Annibal too, after some years, on seeing him at Rome, blamed Albani for inviting him thither; and, in order to depress him, he put Domenichino in opposition to him. Even from the age of twenty, when he left the school of Calvart, the Caracci discovered in him a rare genius for the art, so elevated and ambitious of distinction, that he aspired to something great and novel from the outset of his career. Some of his early efforts are to be seen in the Bonfigliuoli palace, and in other choice collections, displaying a variety of manner. He devoted much study to Albert Durer, he imitated the Caracci, studied the forms of Cesi, and, like Passerotti, aimed at giving strong relief and accuracy to the drawing of the muscles. In some instances he followed Caravaggio, and in the aforesaid palace is a figure of a sibyl, very beautiful in point of features, but greatly overlaid with depth of shade. The style he adopted arose particularly from an observation on [Pg 142]that of Caravaggio one day incidentally made by Annibal Caracci, that to this manner there might be opposed one wholly contrary; in place of a confined and declining light, to exhibit one more full and vivid; to substitute the tender for the bold, to oppose clear outlines to his indistinct ones, and to introduce for his low and common figures those of a more select and beautiful kind.

These words made a much deeper impression on the mind of Guido than Annibal was aware of; nor was it long before he wholly applied himself to the style thus indicated to him. Sweetness was his great object; he sought it equally in design, in the touch of his pencil, and in colouring; from that time he began to make use of white lead, a colour avoided by Lodovico, and at the same time predicted the durability of his tints, such as they have proved. His fellow pupils were indignant at his presuming to depart from the Caracci's method, and returning to the feeble undecided manner of the past century. Nor did he pretend to be indifferent to their remarks and advice. He still preserved that strength of style, so much aimed at by his school, while he softened it with more than its usual delicacy; and by degrees proceeding in the same direction, he, in a few years, attained to the degree of delicacy he had proposed. For this reason I have observed that in Bologna, more than elsewhere, his first is distinguished from his second manner, and it is made a question which of the two is preferable. Nor do all agree with [Pg 143]Malvasia, who pronounced his former the most pleasing, his latter manner the most studied.

In these variations, however, he never lost sight of that exquisite ease which so much attracts us in his works. He was more particularly attentive to the correct form of beauty, especially in his youthful heads. Here, in the opinion of Mengs, he surpassed all others, and, according to Passeri's expression, he drew faces of Paradise. In these Rome abounds more richly than Bologna itself. The Fortune in the capitol; the Aurora, belonging to the Rospigliosi; the Helen to the Spada; the Herodias to the Corsini; the Magdalen to the Barberini, with other subjects in possession of several princes, are regarded as the wonders of Guido's art. This power of beauty was, in the words of Albano, his most bitter and constant rival, the gift of nature; though the whole was the result of his own intense study of natural beauty, and of Raffaello, and of the ancient statues, medals, and cameos. He declared that the Medicean Venus and the Niobe were his most favourite models; and it is seldom we do not recognize in his paintings either Niobe herself, or one of her children, though diversified in a variety of manner with such exquisite skill, as in no way to appear borrowed. In the same way did Guido derive advantage from Raffaello, Coreggio, Parmigianino, and from his beloved Paul Veronese; from all of whom he selected innumerable beauties, but with such happy freedom of hand as to excite the envy [Pg 144]of the Caracci. And, in truth, this artist aimed less at copying beautiful countenances, than at forming for himself a certain general and abstract idea of beauty, as we know was done by the Greeks, and this he modulated and animated in his own style. I find mention, that being interrogated by one of his pupils, in what part of heaven, in what mould existed those wondrous features which he only drew, he pointed to the casts of the antique heads just alluded to, adding, "You too may gather from such examples beauties similar to those in my pictures, if your skill be equal to the task." I find, moreover, that he took for model of one of his Magdalens, the extremely vulgar head of a colour-grinder; but under Guido's hand every defect disappeared, each part became graceful, the whole a miracle. Thus too in his naked figures he reduced them, whatever they were, to a perfect form, more especially in the hands and feet, in which he is singular, and the same in his draperies, which he often drew from the prints of Albert Durer, enriching them, freed from their dryness, with those flowing folds or that grandeur of disposition best adapted to the subject. To portraits themselves, while he preserved the forms and age of the originals, he gave a certain air of novelty and grace, such as we see in that of Sixtus V., placed in the Galli palace at Osimo, or in that wonderful one of Cardinal Spada, in possession of some of his descendants at Rome. There is no one action, position, or expression at all injurious [Pg 145]to his figures; the passions of grief, terror, sorrow, are all combined with the expression of beauty; he turns them every way as he lists, he changes them into every attitude, always equally pleasing, and every one equally entitled to the eulogy of displaying in every action, and in every step, the beauty which secretly animates and accompanies it.[33]

What most surprises us is the variety which he infuses into this beauty, resulting no less from his richness of imagination than from his studies. Still continuing to design in the academy up to the close of his career, he practised his invention how best to vary his idea of the beautiful, so as to free it from all monotony and satiety. He was fond of depicting his countenances with upraised looks, and used to say that he had a hundred different modes of thus representing them. He displayed equal variety in his draperies, though invariably preferring to draw the folds ample, easy, natural, and with clear meaning, as to their origin, progress, and disposition. Nor did he throw less diversity into the ornaments of his youthful heads, disposing the tresses, whether loose, bound, or left in artful confusion, always different, and sometimes casting over them a veil, fillet, or turban, so as to produce some fresh display of grace. Nor were his heads of old men inferior in this respect, displaying even the inequality of the skin, the flow of [Pg 146]the beard, with the hair turned as we see on every side, and animating the features with a few bold, decided touches, and few lights, so as to give great effect at a distance, altogether with a surprising degree of nature; specimens of which are seen at the Pitti palace, the Barberina and Albana galleries; and yet among the least rare of this artist's productions. He bestowed similar attention to varying his fleshes; in delicate subjects he made them of the purest white, adding, moreover, certain livid and azure, mixed among middle tints, open to a charge, at least by some, of mannerism.[34]

The preceding commendations, however, will not extend to the whole of Guido's works. His inequality is well known, but not owing to any maxim of his art. It arose from his love of play, a failing which obscured his many moral qualities. His profits were great; but he was kept continually in a state of indigence by his losses, which he endeavoured to repair by the too negligent practice of his art. Hence we trace occasional errors in perspective, and deficiency of invention, a defect so much insisted upon by the implacable Albani. Hence too his incorrectness of design, the disproportion of his figures, and his works put to sale before their completion. Yet these are not excluded from royal cabinets, and that of Turin possesses one of Marsyas, a finely finished figure, before which is seen standing little more than the sketch of an [Pg 147]Apollo. To form then a fair estimate of Guido, we must turn to other efforts which raised him to high reputation. Among his most excellent pieces I am of opinion that his Crucifixion of St. Peter, at Rome, is a specimen of his boldest manner; the Miracle of the Manna at Ravenna, the Conception at Forli, the Slaughter of the Innocents at Bologna; and there too his celebrated picture of Saints Peter and Paul in the Casa Sampieri. Specimens of his more tender manner may be found in the St. Michael at Rome, the Purification at Modena, the Job at Bologna, St. Thomas the Apostle at Pesaro, the Assumption at Genoa, one of Guido's most studied pieces, and placed directly opposite the St. Ignatius of Rubens.

Guido taught at Rome, and gave his pupils, as we have stated, to that city. He educated still more for his native place, where he opened a school, frequented by more than two hundred pupils, as we are informed by Crespi. Nor are we by this number to measure the dignity of his character as a master. He was an accomplished head of his school, who, in every place, introduced into the art a more sweet and engaging manner, entitled in the times of Malvasia the modern manner. Even his rivals took advantage of it, the fact being indisputable that Domenichino, Albano, and Lanfranco, along with their best disciples, derived that degree of delicacy, in which they sometimes surpass the Caracci, from none but Guido. He would not permit the scholars in his studio to copy in the first [Pg 148]instance from his own works, but exercised them in those of Lodovico, and the most eminent deceased masters. It is conjectured also by Crespi, that he grounded his scholars in the principles of the art of imitation, and all the first requisites, without reference to the minutiæ, which are easily acquired in the course of practice. Guido particularly prided himself on Giacomo Semenza, and Francesco Gessi, whom he thought equal to any masters at that time in Bologna. He employed them in that chapel of the cathedral at Ravenna, a perfect miracle of beauty, and gave them commissions from the court of Mantua and Savoy, assisting them also, both at Rome and his native place; in return for all which he was repaid by Semenza with gratitude, but by Gessi with bitter persecutions. He was followed by both in point of style, and specimens are to be seen in some choice collections.

Semenza emulated Guido in both his manners, and displayed more correctness, erudition, and strength. His pictures at Araceli and other places sufficiently distinguish him from the immense crowd of fresco-painters at Rome. There too are many of his altar-pieces, none more beautiful, perhaps, than the S. Sebastian, at S. Michele in Bologna. Gessi surpassed him in spirit, invention, and rapidity, for which last quality even Guido envied him. This enabled him too, from the first, to vary his works in point of manner until he hit upon the right one, as in his very beautiful St. Francis at the Nunziata, [Pg 149]little inferior to Guido, as well as in several others conducted in his earlier and best days. To these he was indebted for his name of a second Guido; but subsequently he abused his talents, as is the case with those who are held in slight esteem for performing much and rapidly. Thus Bologna abounds with his pictures, in which, with the exception of their fine character and much delicacy, there is nothing to commend; his pictures are cold, his colouring is slight; the shape and features are often too large, and not seldom incorrect. He is known to have invariably affected the second manner of Guido, and hence he is always more feeble, dry, and less harmonious than his master. By these distinctions are the differences between salesmen and purchasers usually decided, as to whether such a piece be a poor Guido or a Gessi.

Yet Gessi had a numerous school at Bologna, on Guido's retiring, and formed scholars of some reputation, such as Giacomo Castellini, Francesco Coreggio, and Giulio Trogli, who, devoting himself to perspective, under Mitelli, and publishing a work entitled Paradossi della Prospettiva, went ever afterwards by the name of the Paradox. Ercole Ruggieri was a faithful follower of Gessi's style, insomuch as at first sight to be mistaken for his master. He was called Ercolino del Gessi, and his brother Batistino del Gessi, an artist of rare talent, commended by Baglione, and much esteemed by Cortona, in whose arms he breathed his last. Batistino was first a pupil of Domenichino, as before [Pg 150]mentioned; and might more properly be named dello Zampieri than del Gessi, from his education and his style. He accompanied Gessi to Naples, and subsequently became his rival, and surpassed him at S. Barbaziano in Bologna. Finally he fixed his residence at Rome, where remain some of his paintings in fresco, in the cloister of the Minerva, in the Cenci palace, and elsewhere, which shew in him the promise of a very distinguished artist; but he did not survive his thirty-second year.

To Guido Reni belongs Ercole de Maria, or da S. Giovanni, called Ercolino di Guido. So pliant was his genius to that of his master, that when the latter had half completed a picture, his pupil made a copy and substituted it for the original, and Guido continued the work, unsuspicious of the cheat, as if it had been his own. He willingly employed him, therefore, in multiplying his own designs, two of which copies are yet seen in public, extremely beautiful, though not displaying the same freedom as others which he conducted on private commission, at a more advanced age. In these there appears a decision and flow of pencil which imposed upon the best judges, a talent that procured him admiration at Rome, with an honour received by no other copyist, being created a Cavalier by Urban VIII.; but this artist also died in the flower of his age.

Another good copyist and master of Guido's style appeared in Gio. Andrea Sirani. On his master's death he completed the great picture of [Pg 151]St. Bruno, left unfinished at the Certosini, with others throughout the city in the same state. Whether owing to Guido's retouches, or want of freedom, Sirani's earliest works bear much resemblance to that master's second manner, more particularly his Crucifixion in the church of S. Marino, which seems like a repetition of the S. Lorenzo in Lucina, or that in the Modenese gallery, in whose features death itself appears beautiful. In progress of time Sirani is supposed to have aimed at the stronger style of Guido in his early career, and conducted in such taste are his pictures of the Supper of the Pharisee, at the Certosa, the Nuptials of the Virgin, at St. Giorgio, in Bologna, and the Twelve Crucifixions, in the cathedral of Piacenza, an extremely beautiful painting, ascribed by some to Elisabetta Sirani, a daughter and pupil of Gio. Andrea.

This lady adhered faithfully to Guido's second manner, to which she added powerful relief and effect. She is nearly the sole individual of the family, whose name occurs in collections out of Bologna. Anna and Barbara, her two sisters, also artists, as well as their father himself, yield precedence to her single name. How surprising that a young woman, who survived not her twenty-sixth year, should have produced the number of paintings enumerated by Malvasia, still more that she should execute them with so much care and elegance; but most of all, that she could conduct them on a grand scale and in histories, with none of that [Pg 152]timidity so apparent in Fontana, and in other artists of her sex. Such is her picture of Christ at the River Jordan, painted for the Certosa; her St. Antony, at S. Leonardo, and many other altar-pieces in different cities. In the subjects which she most frequently painted by commission, she still improved on herself, as we perceive in her Magdalens and figures of the Virgin and infant Christ, of which some of the most finished specimens are in the Zampieri, Zambeccari, and Caprara palaces, as well as in the Corsini and Bolognetti collections at Rome. There are also some small paintings of histories on copper, extremely valuable, from her hand, as that of Lot, in possession of Count Malvezzi, or the St. Bastian, attended by S. Irene, in the Altieri palace; the former at Bologna, the latter at Rome. I have also discovered some portraits, no unfrequent commissions which she received from a number of sovereigns and innumerable distinguished personages throughout Europe. Of this class I saw a singularly beautiful specimen at Milan, being her own likeness crowned by a young cherub. It is in the possession of Counsellor Pagave. Elisabetta died by poison, administered by one of her own maids, and was bewailed in her native place with marks of public sorrow. She was interred in the same vault which contained the ashes of Guido Reni. Besides her two sisters, who imitated her in the art, were many other ladies; Veronica Franchi, Vincenzia Fabri, Lucrezia Scarfaglia, Ginevra Cantofoli; of which last, as well as [Pg 153]of Barbara Sirani, there remain some fine pictures, even in some churches of Bologna.[35]

Among the Bolognese pupils of Guido, Domenico Maria Canuti obtained great celebrity. He was employed by the Padri Olivetani, (an order the most distinguished for its patronage of first rate artists,) in several monasteries, more particularly at Rome, Padua, and Bologna, whose library and church he decorated with numerous paintings. One of these, the Taking down from the Cross by torch-light, is greatly admired, several copies of which are met with, in general called the Night of Canuti; also a St. Michael, painted in part within the arch, and in part on the exterior, is considered a rare triumph of the power of perspective. His entire work in that library was afterwards described and printed by the Manolessi. He left immense works also in two halls of the Pepoli palace, in the Colonna gallery at Rome, in the ducal palace at Mantua, and elsewhere, being esteemed one of the best fresco painters of his time. His fertility and vivacity please more than his colouring, while his individual figures are, perhaps, more attractive than the general effect of the picture. He was excellent too in oil, and succeeded admirably in copying Guido, whose Magdalen of the Barberini was taken so exactly, that it appears the best among all the copies seen at S. Michele in Bosco. Canuti opened school at Bologna; but his pupils, during his tour to Rome, attached themselves [Pg 154]chiefly to Pasinelli, in whose school, or in that of Cignani, they will be found included during the last epoch.

Other of Guido's scholars are indicated by Malvasia, among whom he highly extols Michele Sobleo, or Desubleo, from Flanders, though resident at Bologna. But he left little in public there, and that is a mixture of Guercino and of Guido. Several churches at Venice were decorated by his hand, and the altar-piece at the Carmelite friars, representing also various saints of that order, is among his most celebrated works. From the same country was Enrico Fiammingo, whom we must not confound with Arrigo Fiammingo, an artist made known to us by Baglione. Both fixed their abode in Italy, and the follower of Guido, formerly pupil to Ribera, painted some pictures at S. Barbaziano in Bologna, that may compete with those of Gessi, were it not for the fleshes being of a darker tinge. A few pictures by another foreigner are preserved at the Capuccini and elsewhere; his name, Pietro Lauri, or rather De Laurier, a Frenchman, whose crayons were frequently retouched by Guido, and whose oil pictures also shew traces of the same hand. Respecting another, whose name only remains, it will be sufficient to mention an altar-piece of the Magdalen, placed in the oratory of S. Carlo, at Volterra, relating to which is a letter of Guido to the Cav. Francesco Incontri, stating that he had retouched it, particularly in the head; but that, with the aid of Guido's design, it was painted by [Pg 155]the Signor Camillo. He is said to have been a member of that noble family, of whom memorials have been preserved by his house.

Returning to the Bolognese artists, Gio. Maria Tamburini will be found to hold a high rank, the author of many fresco histories in the portico of the Conventuals, and of the Nunziata at the Vita, a very graceful painting drawn from his master's sketch. Yet he was surpassed by Gio. Batista Bolognini, by whose hand there is a S. Ubaldo at S. Gio. in Monte, altogether in the style of Guido. This artist had a nephew and pupil in Giacomo Bolognini, who painted large pictures and capricci, and is mentioned by Zanotti and Crespi. Bartolommeo Marescotti is hardly deserving notice; at S. Martino he appears only as a hasty imitator, or rather a corrupter of the Guido manner. Mentioned, too, by various writers, is a Sebastiano Brunetti, a Giuliano Dinarelli, a Lorenzo Loli, and in particular a Pietro Gallinari, on whom his master's predilection conferred also the name of Pietro del Sig. Guido. His earliest pieces, retouched by Reni, are held in high esteem, and others which he produced for the court, and in various churches at Guastalla, are valuable. He was an artist of the noblest promise, but cut off prematurely, not without suspicion of poison.

Many foreigners who acquired the art from Guido, particularly at Bologna, were dispersed throughout various schools, according to the places where they resided; such were Boulanger, Cervi, [Pg 156]Danedi, Ferrari, Ricchi, and several more. Two artists who chiefly dwelt in Bologna and Romagna in high esteem, I have reserved for this place, named Cagnacci and Cantarini. Guido Cagnacci, referred by Orlandi to Castel Durante, though the Arcangelesi more properly claim him for their fellow-citizen, was a rare exception to Italian artists, in having sought his fortunes in Germany, where he was highly deserving of the success he met with at the court of Leopold I. What he has left in Italy, such as his St. Matthew and St. Teresa, in two churches of Rimini, or the Beheading of St. John, in the Ercolani palace at Bologna, shew him to have been a diligent and correct, as well as a refined artist, in his master's latest style. Malvasia was of opinion that he carried the colour of his fleshes, now rather faded, somewhat too high; to others it appeared that he drew the extremities too small in proportion to his figures; while some have remarked a capricious degree of freedom, shewn in sometimes representing his angels at a more advanced age than was customary. All, however, must acknowledge Guidesque beauties apparent in every picture, added to a certain original air of nobility in his heads, and fine effect of his chiaroscuro. His pictures for the most part were painted for the ornament of cabinets, such as are seen in the ducal gallery at Modena, and in private houses. There is his Lucretia in the Casa Isolani, and his magnificent David, which is esteemed one of the noblest pieces, in possession of the princes [Pg 157]Colonna; two pictures abundantly repeated both in the Bolognese and Roman Schools, and of which, indeed, I have seen more copies than even of the celebrated David by Guido Reni.

Simone Cantarini da Pesaro became an exact designer under Pandolfi, greatly improved in the school of Claudio Ridolfi, and by incessant study of the Caracci engravings. For colouring he studied the most eminent Venetian artists, and, more than all, the works of Barocci. In one of his Holy Families he shews great resemblance to this last artist, a picture preserved in Casa Olivieri, along with several others, and some portraits, of different taste, but by the same hand. This was caused by the arrival of the grand pictures by Guido, of St. Thomas at Pesaro, and the Nunziata, and the St. Peter, in the adjacent city of Fano, after which he so wholly devoted himself to the new style, as to induce him to emulate, and, if possible, to attempt to surpass that artist. In the same chapel where Guido placed his picture of St. Peter receiving the Keys, Simone displayed his miracle of the Saint at the Porta Speciosa, where he so nearly resembled, as to appear Guido himself; and even in Malvasia's time, foreigners were unable to detect any difference of hand. It is certain he possessed much of that artist's more powerful manner, which is shewn in his principal picture; the heads very beautiful and varied, the composition natural; fine play of light and shade, except that the chief figure of his history is too much involved in the latter. [Pg 158]The better to approach his prototype, Simone proceeded to Bologna, and became Guido's disciple, affecting at first much humility and deference, while he artfully concealed the extent of his own skill. Then gradually developing it, he soon rose in high esteem, no less with his master than the whole city, aided as he was by his singular talent for engraving. Shortly he grew so vain of his own ability, as to presume to censure not only artists of mediocrity, but Domenichino, Albano, and even Guido. To the copies made by the pupils from their master's pieces, he gave bold retouches, and occasionally corrected some inaccuracy in their model, until at length he began to criticise Guido openly, and to provoke his resentment. Owing to such arrogance, and to negligence in executing his commissions, he fell in public esteem, left Bologna for some time, and remained like a refugee at Rome. Here he studied from Raffaello, and from the antique, then returned and taught at Bologna, whence he passed into the Duke of Mantua's service. Still to whatever country he transferred his talents, he was accompanied by the same malignant disposition; a great boaster, and a despiser of all other artists, not even sparing Giulio and Raffaello, insomuch that the works could not be so greatly esteemed as the man was detested. Incurring also the duke's displeasure, and not succeeding in his portrait, his pride was so far mortified as to throw him ill, and passing to Verona, he there died, aged 36, in 1648, not without [Pg 159]suspicion of having been poisoned, no very rare occurrence with defamers like him.

Baldinucci, supported by most of the dilettanti, extols him as another Guido; and assuredly he approaches nearer to him than to any other, and with a decision which belonged to few imitators. His ideas are not so noble, but in the opinion of many they were even more graceful. He is less learned, but more accurate; and may be pronounced the only artist who in the hands and feet very assiduously studied the manner of Lodovico. He was extremely diligent in modelling for his own use, and one of his heads in particular is commended, from which he drew those of his old men, which are extremely beautiful. From the models, too, he derived his folds, though he never attained to the same majestic and broad sweep as Guido and Tiarini, a truth which he as candidly admitted. In point of colouring he is varied and natural. His greatest study was bestowed upon his fleshes, in which, though friendly to the use of white lead, he was content with moderate white, avoiding what he called the cosmetics of Domenichino and the shades of the Caracci. In his outlines and shadows, dismissing the use of the lacca and terra d'ombra,[36] he introduced ultramarine and terra verde, so much commended by Guido. He animated his fleshes with certain lights from place to place, never contrasting them with vivid colours, except in as far as he frequently studied to give [Pg 160]them from depth of shadow, that relief which serves to redouble their beauty. If there was nothing decidedly bold in his painting, yet he covered the whole with an ashy tone, such as Guido applied in his St. Thomas, and which became so perfectly familiar to Cantarini as to acquire for him from Albani the surname of pittor cenerino. Spite of this opinion, however, he is considered by Malvasia as the most graceful colourist, and he adds, the most correct designer of his age. His most beautiful pictures that I have seen, in which his heads of saints are always conspicuous for beauty and expression, are the St. Antony, at the Franciscans di Cagli; the St. James, in the church of that name in Rimini; the Magdalen, at the Filippini of Pesaro; and, in the same city, his St. Dominick, at the Predicatori; in whose convent are also two Evangelists, half-size figures, animated to the life. There is also a S. Romualdo, in possession of the noble Paolucci, a figure that seems to start from the canvass, and at the Casa Mosca, besides various other works, is a portrait of a young nun that rivets every beholder. Many of his Holy Families also are to be seen in Bologna, in Pesaro, and at Rome; nor are his heads of St. John very rare, any more than his half-figures, or heads of apostles, a specimen of which is to be seen in the Pitti palace.

Simon Cantarini educated a few of his fellow-citizens to the art. One of these was Gio. Maria Luffoli, many of whose paintings, which display the [Pg 161]school, are to be met with in his native place, particularly at S. Giuseppe and at S. Antonio Abate. Gio. Venanzi (or Francesco) had been already instructed by Guido, when he entered the school of Cantarini, though he resembles neither of these masters so nearly as he does the Gennari. When we inspect the two beautiful histories of St. Antony, in the church of that name, we might pronounce him their disciple. An ancient MS. of Pesaro, edited along with the pictures of the city,[37] places him at the court of Parma, most probably for the purpose of decorating the palace, there being nothing from his hand in the churches. In the same MS. mention is made of Domenico Peruzzini, as born at Pesaro, and the pupil of Pandolfi. In Orlando's Lexicon and other books there is frequent mention made of one Cav. Giovanni, and he is given out as belonging to Ancona, and a disciple of Simone. The Pesarese Guide, in which the very diligent Can. [Pg 162]Lazzarini indisputably took part, informs us that these artists were brothers, both born at Pesaro, and that they transferred their services to Ancona, their adopted country, (p. 65). From the dilettanti of Ancona I could gather tidings of only one Peruzzini; and I doubt whether his being named Domenico by the author of the MS. may not have arisen from mistake, as he proceeds to relate matters chiefly appertaining to Giovanni. However this be, there is a picture of S. Teresa by Peruzzini at the Carmelite Friars in Ancona, bearing some traces of Baroccio's manner. That of the Beheading of St. John, at the hospital, is extremely beautiful; and here he appears rather a disciple of the Bolognese. He seems to have displayed a similar character elsewhere; it being known that this artist, after forming a style participating of those of the Caracci, of Guido, and of Pesarese, took to a wandering life, and painted in various theatres and churches, if not with much study, with tolerable correctness, a knowledge of perspective, in which he was excellent, and with a certain facility, grace, and spirit, which delight the eye. His paintings are dispersed through various places in the Picenum, even as far as Ascoli on the confines, where are a number of works by his hand. There are some at Rome and at Bologna, where he painted in the cloister of the Servi a lunette,[38] [Pg 163]very fairly executed within twenty-four hours; at Turin, where he was made a cavalier; and in Milan, where he died. At Rome are some specimens too from the hand of his son and pupil, Paolo, entitled in the aforesaid MS. a good and decided painter.

An undoubted scholar of Simone was Flamminio Torre, called dagli Ancinelli, who came from the studio of Cavedone and Guido. His chief talent consisted in an easy perfect imitation of every style, which brought him as high a price for his copies as was given for the originals of eminent artists, sometimes even more. Though not learned in the theory of the art, by his practical ability he acquired the manner of Cantarini, dismissing, however, his ashy colour, and often turning to the imitation of Guido. He was court-painter at Modena; and at Bologna in particular are preserved both scriptural and profane histories, displaying very pleasing figures as large as Poussin, or on the same scale. Some I saw in possession of Monsig. Bonfigliuoli, others in the collection of the librarian Magnani; and some still more firm, and in the best style of colouring, in the Ratta palace. Yet we rarely meet with them uninjured by the use of rock oil, which he carried to excess; and his church paintings, such as a Depositing from the Cross at S. Giorgio, as they have been least attended to, have suffered the most. On the death of Simone, as his first pupil, he succeeded to his magisterial office, and promoted the progress of the scholars whom [Pg 164]he left. Girolamo Rossi succeeded better in engraving than in painting. Lorenzo Pasinelli became an excellent master, but of a different style, as we shall see in another epoch. The most eminent among Torre's disciples was Giulio Cesare Milani, rather admired in the churches of Bologna, and extolled in many adjacent states. But it is now time to turn our attention from Guido and his disciples to Guercino, which will afford the same pleasure, I trust, to my readers, as the dilettanti enjoy, in beholding two styles, so strikingly opposed, immediately contrasted. In a similar manner, to adduce an instance taken from the Spada Gallery, it yields delight to turn our eye from Guido's Rape of Helen to the funeral pyre of Dido, painted by Guercino, and placed directly opposite.

Gio. Francesco Barbieri, surnamed Guercino da Cento, would, to speak with precision, be better ranked among the artists of Ferrara, to which city Cento is subject; but we must observe the almost universal custom of including him among the Caracci's disciples. This has arisen either from a tradition that his genius at an early age received some bias towards design from the Caracci, which but ill accords with the epoch of his age, or from the circumstance of his having taken one of Lodovico's pictures for a model, which is slight ground enough for attaching him to the school. Moreover, he never frequented the Caracci's academy; but, after staying a short time with Cremonini, his fellow-countryman, at Bologna, he returned to [Pg 165]Cento, and there resided with Benedetto Gennari the elder, first as his pupil, next his colleague, and lastly his kinsman. Some too would contend that one among the masters of Gio. Francesco was Gio. Batista Gennari, who in 1606 painted for S. Biagio, in Bologna, a Madonna among various saints, in a style resembling Procaccini. And indeed the Paradise, at S. Spirito in Cento, and an altar-piece at the Capuccini, with other early works by Guercino, partake of the old style. Subsequently he studied, along with Benedetto, to find by experiment what constituted grand effect in the art, in which taste I cannot distinguish, with the generality of dilettanti and writers, two manners only; he having openly professed three, as we learn from Sig. Righetti, in his Description of the paintings of Cento.

Of these the first is the least known, consisting of abundance of strong shades, with sufficiently animated lights, less studied in the features and in the extremities, with fleshes inclining to the yellow; in the rest less attractive in point of colouring; a manner distantly resembling that of Caravaggio, in which kind are to be found several specimens both at Cento and in S. Guglielmo a' ministri degl'Infermi at Bologna. From this he passed to his second manner, which is by far the most pleasing and valuable. He continued to improve it during several years, with the aid of other schools; in this interval often visiting Bologna, residing for some time at Venice, and remaining many [Pg 166]years at Rome along with the most eminent followers of Caracci, and entering into terms of friendship with Caravaggio. His taste is mainly founded on the style of this last master; displaying strong contrast of light and shadow; both exceedingly bold, yet mingled with much sweetness and harmony, and with powerful art of relief, a branch so greatly admired by professors.[39] Hence some foreigners have bestowed on him the title of the magician of Italian painting; for in him were renewed those celebrated illusions of antiquity, such as that of the boy who stretched forth his hand to snatch the painted fruit. From Caravaggio too he borrowed the custom of obscuring his outlines, and availed himself of it for despatch. He also imitated his half-sized figures upon one ground, and for the most part composed his historical pictures in this method. Yet he studied to become more correct in point of design, and more select than Caravaggio; not that he ever attained peculiar elegance or peculiar dignity of features, though most frequently he drew his heads, like a sound observer of nature, with graceful turns, easy natural attitudes, and a colouring, which if not the most delicate, is at least the most sound and most juicy. Often in comparing the figures of Guido with Guercino's, one would say that the former had been fed with roses, as observed by one of the ancients, and the [Pg 167]latter with flesh. How far he excelled as a colourist in his draperies, formed in the taste of the best Venetians, in his landscape, and in his accessories, will sufficiently appear on beholding his S. Petronilla in the Quirinal, or his picture of Christ risen from the Dead, at Cento,[40] or his St. Helen, at the Mendicants in Venice; excellent specimens of his second manner. To the same belong in general all that he left at Rome, even his greater works, such as the S. Gio. Grisogono in the soffitto of that church, or the Aurora, adorning the villa Lodovisi. Yet he surpassed even these, to the surprise of all, in the cupola of the Piacenza cathedral; and in the same city he appears to have competed with Pordenone, and in point of vigour of style to have gone beyond him.

Some years having elapsed, after his return from Rome to Cento, he began to emulate Guido, perceiving [Pg 168]that his sweetness of manner obtained such distinguished applause. By degrees he softened down that power of hand just noticed, and painted more open and vividly. He added somewhat more attraction and variety to his heads, and a certain study of expression, almost indescribable, which is surprising in some of his pictures of this period. Some have assigned such a change of manner to the time of Guido's decease, when Guercino, perceiving that he could take the lead at Bologna, left Cento, in order to fix his residence in that great city. But several pictures which he had conducted in his third manner, previous to Reni's death, fully confute such an opinion. On the contrary, it was rumoured that Guido remarked this change, which he construed into commendation of himself, declaring that he had avoided Guercino's style as much as possible, whilst the latter approached as nearly as he could to Guido's. In this taste, though partaking of the preceding, is the Circumcision of Jesus, placed in the church of Gesù e Maria, in which the study of architecture and drapery vies with that of the figures; and it is difficult to decide whether these most please by their form, or by their expression. We might add the Nuptials of the Virgin, at S. Paterniano in Fano, the S. Palazia in Ancona, the Nunziata at Forli, the Prodigal Son in the royal palace at Turin, a history piece of entire figures, which is met with in half figures in many galleries. However attractive this last manner may be found, [Pg 169]skilled judges would have wished Guercino not to have swerved from the vigour of the second, to which his genius was moulded, and in which he shone unrivalled and unique.

The frequency of his commissions contributed, perhaps, to put him upon a more easy method, no less than his own incredible genius for execution and despatch. He produced a hundred and six altar-pieces, and a hundred and forty-four large pictures for princes and other persons of distinction, without including numbers of others painted for private persons, Madonnas, portraits, half-length figures, and landscapes, in which the rapidity of execution is highly original. Hence he is by no means rare in collections. The noble Zolli family at Rimino possesses about twenty of his pieces, Count Lecchi at Brescia also a great number; all perfect and polished according to his manner. Among these is a portrait of a friar of the Osservanti, his father confessor, quite a miracle of art.

Guercino's school greatly flourished at Cento, in Bologna not so much, owing to his own choice of having his two nephews the Gennari, and a few other intimate friends with him, which led him to exclude strangers in some degree from his studio. Few Bolognese artists, therefore, belong to this master; such as Giulio Coralli, whom Orlandi, a contemporary writer, gives as pupil to Guercino at Bologna, and of Cairo at Milan, and who, Crespi adds, was much employed at Parma, at Piacenza, [Pg 170]and at Mantua. He was a better portrait-painter, if I mistake not, than a composer. Fulgenzio Mondini was an artist of more merit; he painted two fresco histories in the church of S. Petronio at Bologna, relating to the Paduan saint. He died young at Florence, where, after having painted some time for the court, he was employed by the Marchesi Capponi to decorate their villa of Colonnata, and his memory has been honoured with a long eulogy by Malvasia. The latter declares that he knew none gifted with qualities that promised so much in that age, and conjectures that had he survived he would have become the first fresco painter of his age.

The two young Gennari were sons of Gio. Francesco's sister, and of Ercole, son of Benedetto Gennari. Respecting Ercole, it is stated that no more exact copyist of the works of Guercino was to be met with. His sons, Benedetto and Cesare, likewise distinguished themselves in copying the original compositions of their uncle, and the numerous repetitions of Guercino's sibyls, of his pictures of St. John, of his Herodiads, and similar pieces, are ascribed more particularly to them. They may all be recognized, however, by a more feeble tone in their tints; and I once saw in the Ercolani palace a Bathsheba of Guercino, along with a copy by one of the Gennari. The former appeared as if newly painted at the time, the latter as if many years previously, such was its inferiority in strength of hand. The two brothers were employed in [Pg 171]Cento, in Bologna, and in other cities of Italy; while Benedetto, the ablest of them, was engaged also in England, as court-painter under two reigns. Both would seem to have inherited the style along with the fortune of Gio. Francesco, and, I may also add, his studies; because in the manner of sectaries, they made repeated copies of the heads of his old men, women, and boys, which he himself was in the habit of repeating on his canvass too frequently. There is a S. Leopardo by Benedetto in the cathedral at Osimo, and a S. Zaccaria at the Filippini in Forli, which might have been mistaken for the uncle's, had the nephew displayed somewhat more strength and power of relief. In the same way Cesare, in a Mary Magdalen of the Pazzi, at S. Martino in Bologna, and in other pieces, has succeeded in giving the features better than the spirit of Barbieri. It ought to be observed that Cesare preserved his first manner to the close of his life, and that he was assiduous in teaching at Bologna, where his school was frequented also by foreigners, among whom Simon Gionima distinguished himself as a follower of Guercino, and was well received at Vienna. Benedetto subsequently formed for himself a style in England, both more polished and careful, and exemplified it more particularly in his portraits, which he conducted there for Charles II. and the royal family. On the expulsion of that family he returned to Italy, almost transformed into a Dutch or Flemish painter, such was the truth with which he imitated velvets, lawns, [Pg 172]lace, gems, and other ornaments in gold, indeed all that can enrich a portrait, besides drawing it extremely like, and artfully freed from any blemishes in the original. By means of this taste, new in Italy, Benedetto obtained much applause and much employment in portrait, both from princes and individuals. We may here add a Bartolommeo Gennari, brother to Ercole, who resembles Guercino less than any of the three preceding, though extremely natural and spirited. He has a picture of St. Thomas at the Rosario di Cento, in the act of putting his hand to our Saviour's side, and the admiration both of him and the other apostles is very finely expressed. The pupil, and probably the relation of Guercino, was one Lorenzo Gennari di Rimini, at which place is one of his pictures at the Capuccini, very fairly executed.

Francesco Nagli, surnamed, from his country, Centino, was much employed at the Angeli and in other churches at Rimini. He was an excellent imitator of Barbieri, in point of colouring and chiaroscuro; in the rest somewhat dry in design, cold in his attitudes, and no way novel in his ideas. To the same district belonged Stefano Ficatelli, a painter of good invention, who decorated several churches of Ferrara; but more especially an excellent copyist of Guercino, not inferior in this respect to Francesco Bassi, of Bologna, so highly commended by Crespi. Among Guercino's copyists, Gio. Francesco Mutii, or Mucci, of Cento, son of a sister of Guercino, distinguished also as an [Pg 173]engraver, held a high rank. Stefano Provenzali, likewise from Cento, and a pupil of Barbieri, applied his talents to battle-pieces, much extolled by Crespi, from whose MSS. I have borrowed several of my notices of the Centese artists.

Two of these, followers of Guercino, are mentioned by Malvasia. They are Cristoforo Serra, a faithful and excellent imitator of Gio. Francesco, and preceptor of Cristoforo Savolini, who has a fine picture of the saint at S. Colomba in Rimini; and Cesare Pronti, an Augustine, born at Rimini, if we give credit to the author of its city guide, and called da Ravenna, on account of his long residence at that place. Both the above cities exhibit his altar-pieces, much extolled, and some chiaroscuri[TN7] happily enough disposed; in particular those histories of St. Jerome painted in the Confraternity of his name at Rimini, with abundant grace and spirit. In Pesaro, also, he exhibited in the church of his order a St. Thomas da Villanova, with beautiful specimens of architecture, and in a more original taste than the two Gennari. The life of this able ecclesiastic has been written by Pascoli, who knew him, insomuch that we may give him credit when he declares that he was born at the Cattolica, of the family of the Baciocchi, afterwards assuming the name of Pronti, the maiden name of his mother. He gives other anecdotes of him; and what is more interesting is the account of his first passion for the art, on contemplating, when a boy, a collection of [Pg 174]fine pictures in a shop at the fair of Sinigaglia. He gazed upon them during several hours, unmindful of his meals, and of his parents, who were in search of him through the city, and who on finding him could with difficulty tear him from the spot. They were unable, however, to destroy the fixed determination of his soul to become a painter; the impression was indelible, and he set out for Bologna. There he first entered the school of Barbieri; and afterwards, as we have already remarked, the cloister. Respecting different scholars of Guercino, such as were Preti, Ghezzi, and Triva, it is unnecessary here to repeat what has already been stated in several other schools.

Gio. Lanfranco, one of those distinguished disciples of the Caracci who followed Annibal to Rome, was born at Parma. He was early employed by the Conti Scotti in Piacenza, where, for mere pastime, drawing some figures in charcoal upon a wall, his rare genius shone forth, and was assigned to the cultivation of Agostino Caracci. Frequent mention of him is made in the course of this work. At Parma the reader finds him a pupil to Agostino, and on his death under the care of Lodovico, after which he pursued his studies under Annibal at Rome. Both there and in Naples we have seen him celebrated as a professor and preceptor in both schools. The character of his genius was sought, conceitedly perhaps, but still with truth, by Bellori, in his name; and doubtless it would be difficult to find an artist more bold and striking, alike in conception [Pg 175]and in execution. He had formed a peculiar manner, which both in design and expression partakes of the Caracci's, while the composition is drawn from Coreggio. It is a manner at once easy, and elevated by the dignity of the countenances and actions, by the ample and well disposed masses of light and shade, by the nobleness of the drapery and its imposing folds, broad and wholly novel in the art. For this precise reason its grandeur is without that last finish which adds to the worth of other artists, but would in him diminish it. In such a style he was enabled to be less exact without displeasing us, possessing so many admirable qualities, rare conceptions, colours wonderfully harmonized, if not animated; very beautiful foreshortening; contrasts of parts and figures, which have served as models, as is observed by Mengs, for the tasteful style of the moderns.

He adopted this style in a number of pictures for private ornament, both for the Dukes Farnesi, in whose palace at Rome he first began to paint, and for other noblemen. His Polyphemus, conducted for the Casa Borghese in that city, is highly extolled, as well as his scriptural histories at S. Callisto. There are many pictures also from his hand; his St. Andrea Avellino at Rome, enriched with splendid architecture, boasts singular merit; his Dead Christ at Foligno, with the "Padre Eterno," a figure, which though in human form, nevertheless impresses us with grand ideas of the Divine Being; the Transit of our Lady, in Macerata; the S. Rocco, [Pg 176]and the S. Corrado, in Piacenza; perhaps the most finished among Lanfranco's productions, and deservedly the most celebrated. But he exhibited this style still more fully in cupolas and other scenes on a grand scale, according to Coreggio's example. When young, he executed a small coloured model of the cupola of the cathedral at Parma, emulating his whole style, in particular that grace of motion, of all by far the most difficult. He imitated it too at S. Andrea della Valle at Rome, and in his picture availed himself of the example afforded by Michelangiolo in architecture, when unable to execute a more beautiful cupola than Brunelleschi's, and desirous of differing from it, he worked from a new design, and succeeded to admiration. This production forms an epoch in the art, inasmuch "as he was the first," says Passeri, "to irradiate the opening of a celestial glory with a splendour of light, of which there was formerly seen no example." ... "Lanfranco's cupola remains a solitary specimen in the way of glories; because, in respect to its celestial idea, in the opinion of the most dispassionate judges, he has attained the highest degree, as well in the harmony of the whole, its chief object, as in the distribution of the colours, in the parts, and in force of chiaroscuro," &c. Nor was this, on which he spent four years, the sole example he left of a fecundity of idea and rare elevation of mind, of which we meet with no account in any other artist, even among the ancient painters. Add to [Pg 177]this, the cupolas at the Gesù, and at the Tesoro of S. Gennaro at Naples, where he succeeded Domenichino, with various tribunes and chapels in Rome and Naples, adorned with equal majesty, and which have given to Lower Italy the most genuine examples in this kind, of which the art can boast. From him it was that the Machinists acquired the power of gratifying the eye at larger distances, painting only in part, and in part leaving the work, as he was accustomed to express it, for the air to paint. In the two schools above-mentioned we have embraced his best disciples: to the Bolognese he gave no pupils, as far as I learn, any more than to Romagna and its dependencies; if we except Gio. Francesco Mengucci, of Pesaro, who assisted him in the cupola of St. Andrea; a painter, I believe, for collections, who has been much extolled by Malvasia.

Next to the five heads of schools hitherto recorded, ought to be mentioned Sisto Badalocchi; and the more as he was Annibal's disciple, and long resided with him at Rome. He was fellow citizen, and a faithful companion too of Lanfranco, whose style he approached very nearly. Sisto designed admirably, being preferred by Annibal in this branch to any of his fellow pupils, and even, with singular modesty, to himself. Ample testimony of his ability is proclaimed in the engravings of Raffaello's loggie, executed in conjunction with Lanfranco, and dedicated to Annibal; besides the six prints of Coreggio's grand [Pg 178]cupola, a work which, to the public regret, was left incomplete. He was also selected by his master to decorate the chapel of S. Diego, where he directed him to paint from one of his cartoons a history of that saint. In point of invention he was not equal to the leaders of his school; so that, employed in filling up the secondary parts, he assisted Guido and Domenichino at S. Gregorio; and attended Albani at the Verospi palace; although his picture of Galatea left there is worthy of the hand of a great master. He appears to advantage in competition, and mostly excels, as we may gather from the church of St. Sebastian at Rome, where he painted along with Tacconi; and at Reggio, where he rivalled some of the less distinguished artists of Bologna. Besides his other works, that city has to boast the rich cupola of S. Giovanni, on which Sisto conducted a small, but very beautiful copy of that in the cathedral at Parma. Other of his specimens are to be met with in the Modenese state, particularly in the ducal palace at Gualtieri, where he represented in one chamber the Trials of Hercules. Of his pictures at Parma the most celebrated is that of St. Francis, at the Cappuccini; a painting, both in point of figures and landscape, composed in the best taste of the Caracci. For the rest, we may add what has been said of Lanfranco, that he most frequently executed much less than he knew.

So far we have treated of the followers of the Caracci employed at Rome; and these in general, [Pg 179]judging from their style, shewed more deference to Annibal than any other of the family. Many others remained at Bologna, who either never visited Rome, or produced nothing there worthy of consideration. These were chiefly attached to Lodovico, in whose studio they had been educated, with the exception of Alessandro Tiarini, who sprung from another school, though he benefited by his advice and example, as much as if Lodovico had really been his master. But he was pupil to Fontana, subsequently of Cesi, and finally also of Passignano at Florence. He had fled thither from his native place on account of a quarrel; and after a lapse of seven years, through the intervention of Lodovico, he was enabled to return to Bologna, leaving at Florence and some places in the state a few paintings in his first easy style, resembling Passignano's. In such style he conducted his S. Barbara, at S. Petronio, a work which failed to please the Bolognese public. To give it greater attractions, he next proceeded to copy from, and to consult Lodovico, not in order to attain his manner, but with the view of improving his own. This task was short to a man of genius, well grounded in the theory of his art, and perhaps more philosophical than any other artist of Bologna. He soon became a different painter, and in his novel taste of composing, of distributing his lights and expressing the passions, he shone like a disciple of the Caracci. Nevertheless he preserved a character distinct from the rest, grounded [Pg 180]upon his naturally severe and melancholy disposition. All in him is serious and moderate; the air of his figures, his attitudes, his drapery, varied with few, but noble folds, such as to excite the admiration of Guido himself. He avoids, moreover, very gay and animated colours, chiefly contenting himself with light violets or yellows, and tawny colours, tempered with a little red; but so admirably laid on and harmonized, as to produce the finest feeling of repose to enchant the eye. His subjects, too, are well adapted to his taste, as he generally selected, when he could, such as were of a pathetic and sorrowful cast. For this reason his Magdalens, his S. Peters, and his Madonnas in grief—one of which, presented to the Duke of Mantua, drew tears from his eyes—are held in high esteem.

Subsequently he became expert in foreshortening, and all the intricacies of the art, more particularly in point of invention. There is scarcely one of his works to be met with, that does not exhibit a certain air of novelty and originality of idea. On occasion of representing the Virgin in grief, in the church of S. Benedict, he drew her seated together with St. John and the Magdalen; the one upright, the other kneeling, in the act of contemplating the Redeemer's crown of thorns. Other incidents of his passion also are alluded to; all are silent indeed, but every eye and attitude is eloquent in its silence. Obtaining a commission for an altar-piece in S. Maria Maggiore, [Pg 181]to represent St. John and St. Jerome, he shunned the trite expression of drawing them in a glory; but he feigned an apparition, through which the holy doctor, while intent at his studies, appears to receive from the beatified evangelist lectures in theology. His most distinguished production, however, is at S. Domenico, the saint seen raising a man from the dead; a picture abounding with figures varied in point of feature, attitude, and dress; every thing highly select. Lodovico expressed his astonishment at it, and declared that he knew of no master then to compare with Tiarini. It is true that, in this instance, having to compete with Spada, he raised his tone of colouring, and shunned every common form; two precautions which, had he introduced into every work, would have left him perhaps second to none of the Bolognese. He survived until his ninetieth year, and during a long period dwelt at Reggio, whence he had often occasion to proceed to other cities of Lombardy, which preserve many of his altar-pieces, and cabinet pictures. The Modenese gallery abounds with them, his St. Peter being more particularly extolled, seen struck with remorse as he stands outside the prætorium. The architecture, the depth of night lighted up with torches, Christ's judgment beheld in the distance, all conspire to raise the tragic interest of the scene. He was employed also by the Duke of Parma, for whose garden he painted some incidents from the Jerusalem Delivered, conducted [Pg 182]in fresco; but which, though much extolled, are no longer met with. In short Tiarini was one of the most eminent artists next to the Caracci, at least in point of composition, expression of features and of the passions, perspective, power and durability of colouring, if not of the most exact elegance.

Lionello Spada was one of the leading geniuses of the school. Sprung from the lowest origin, and employed by the Caracci as a grinder of colours, by dint of hearing their conferences, and observing the process of their labours, he began to design; first under them, and next with Baglione, he acquired a knowledge of the art; during several years studying no other models besides the Caracci. He lived on familiar terms with Dentone, and thus became skilful in the use of perspective. Incensed by a jest of Guido's, he determined to seek revenge by opposing his delicacy of manner with another more full and strong; for which purpose going to Rome, he studied both there and in Malta under Caravaggio, and returned home master of a new style. It does not indeed lower itself to every form, like his, but still is not so elevated as that of the Caracci: it is studied in the naked parts, but not select; natural in point of colouring, with good relief in the chiaroscuro, but too frequently displaying a ruddy tone in the shadows, giving an expression of mannerism. One of Lionello's most characteristic marks is a novelty and audacity, the result of his natural disposition, [Pg 183]which was equally agreeable for its pleasantry, and hateful for its insolence. He often competed with Tiarini, always superior in point of spirit and force of colouring; but inferior in all the rest. Thus at S. Domenico, where he represented the saint in the act of burning proscribed books; and this is the best picture on canvass which he exhibited at Bologna. At S. Michele in Bosco also is seen his Miracle of St. Benedict, which the young artists call the Scarpellino of Lionello; a picture so wholly novel as to induce Andrea Sacchi, who was greatly struck with it, to copy the design. In a similar way at the Madonna di Reggio, where both artists painted as usual in competition, as well in oils as in fresco, they appeared, as it were, to go beyond themselves. We often meet with specimens of Spada in private galleries; holy families and scripture histories in half-length figures, like those of Caravaggio and Guercino; his heads full of expression, but not very select. He seems most frequently to have repeated the decollation of St. John the Baptist, often met with in the Bolognese galleries, and the best perhaps is in that of the Malvezzi.

He became painter to Duke Ranuccio at Parma, where he decorated that admirable theatre, which then stood unrivalled. In that city, and at Modena, as well as other places, I have seen some of his pictures in a taste wholly opposed to those of Bologna, displaying a mixture of the Caracci and of Parmigianino. His histories in the ducal [Pg 184]gallery at Modena are highly beautiful; such as the Susanna and the Elders, and the Prodigal Son. One of his most remarkable is the Martyrdom of a Saint, at S. Sepolcro in Parma, and the St. Jerome, in the Carmelitani, in the same city. Specimens such as these must have been among his last, at a period when he was residing in affluence at court, and enabled to conduct his works at leisure. His good fortune terminated with the life of Ranuccio; for with the loss of such a patron his talent, too, seemed to have deserted him, and he shortly followed to the tomb. The names of some of his scholars occur in the schools of Lombardy. Here too we ought to add that of Pietro Desani of Bologna, who following him into Reggio, there established himself; a young artist of rapid hand and quick genius, whose works are to be met with very frequently in Reggio and its vicinity.

Lorenzo Garbieri was an artist of more learning and caution than Lionello, though resembling him in point of style. His austere, and almost fiery disposition, with an imagination abounding in wild and mournful ideas, impelled him to a style of painting less open than that of the Caracci. To this cause must be added his emulation of Guido, whom, like Lionello, he wished to humble, by adopting a very powerful manner; and, though he did not put himself under Caravaggio, he eagerly copied his pictures, including all the best at Bologna. Garbieri was one of the most successful imitators of Lodovico; less select in the heads, but grand [Pg 185]in the forms, expressive in the attitudes, and studied in his large compositions; insomuch that his paintings at S. Antonio in Milan, which are less loaded with shade, were attributed by Santagostini in his Guide to the Caracci. To this style of the Caracci he added the daring character of Caravaggio, and he was skilful in selecting always funereal subjects most suitable to his genius; so that we meet with little else than scenes of sorrow, slaughter, death, and terror, from his hand. At the Barnabiti, in Bologna, he painted for the chapel of S. Carlo an altar-piece with two lateral pictures; it presents us with the horrors of the Milanese plague, amidst which is seen the saint visiting the sick, and conducting a penitential procession. He painted also at the Filippini in Fano a picture of St. Paul, near the St. Peter of Guido, in the act of raising the young man from the dead; a work of such power of hand and expression as to excite at once terror and pity in the beholders. At S. Maurizio, in Mantua, he exhibited in a chapel the Martyrdom of S. Felicita and her seven children; a piece inferior indeed to the Miracle of St. Paul in point of vigour, but containing such variety of images, and such deathly terror, as not to be surpassed in tragic interest by any thing from the same school. He had the choice of establishing himself as court-painter at Mantua, an office he rejected, preferring to take a wife with a handsome dowry at Bologna. This step was a loss, however, to the art, as mentioned by Malvasia; [Pg 186]since from that period finding himself rich, and occupied with family cares, he painted little, and with as little study, leaving his final labours by no means equal to the preceding. His son Carlo applied still less than his father to the profession, though he gave proofs in several works exhibited in public, that in time he would have equalled his father. Lorenzo educated few other pupils, but he was highly esteemed for his profound knowledge, and for his method of communicating it, at once easy and precise, resting upon few but comprehensive maxims.

Giacomo Cavedone was from Sassuolo, and hence included among the artists of the Modenese state by Tiraboschi, in whose work we may read the origin of his career. His genius was more limited, his spirit less animated, than those of the preceding; but being assisted by the Caracci in the right path, he attained to equal, and even greater celebrity. Leaving the intricacies of the art to the more enterprising, he fixed upon attitudes comparatively easy and devoid of foreshortening, gentle expressions distinct from the stronger passions, correct design in his figures, and more particularly in the hands and feet. Nature had endued him with promptness and facility; so that on occasion of designing models, or copying pictures, he with rare exactness took the substance of the subject, and afterwards reduced the whole by a more easy method in his own peculiarly resolute and graceful touch, in which he [Pg 187]has always remained original. He was equally novel in his frescos; employing few tints, but so attractive, that Guido was induced to make him his pupil, and retained him at Rome as his assistant. Another striking characteristic was his strength of colouring, which he acquired from those Venetians themselves, who shone the masters of his masters. Here he attained to such excellence, that Albani, when asked whether there were any pictures of Titian's at Bologna, replied, there were not; but we may substitute the two at S. Paolo by Cavedone (a Nativity and an Epiphany) which look like Titian's, and are executed with a bolder hand. One of his most distinguished productions at Bologna is the S. Alò at the Mendicanti, in which Girupeno discovers, besides its fine design, a Titianesque taste that excites astonishment; and a French tourist entitles it a most admirable work, such as might be fairly attributed to the Caracci. The mistake indeed has occurred to persons of first rate tact, most frequently at Imola, on contemplating the beautiful picture of St. Stephen at that church; and yet more out of Italy, in regard to his pictures of private ornament, in which he is more than usually attractive and perfect. Judges know how to recognize Cavedone's hand by his very compendious manner of treating the hair and beards, as well as by that graceful and rapid touch, loaded with much lightish yellow, or burnt terra gialla. Length of proportions is likewise considered another peculiarity, [Pg 188]with a flow of the folds more rectilinear than in other artists of the same school. Such ascendancy in the art was maintained by Cavedone during some years, till the death of a favourite son, who had early distinguished himself in the same career, united to other heavy sorrows, deprived him of his powers, and he subsequently executed nothing of importance. A specimen of that period is in possession of the fathers of S. Martino; an Ascension that excites only our compassion, with similar pieces met with throughout Bologna, that can boast no glimpse of grace. Still deteriorating, he was at length deprived of commissions and reduced to penury, which, in his old age, attended him to the tomb.

Lucio Massari possessed a more joyous spirit, ever glad and festal; devoted to the theatre and to the chase, rather than to his academy and his pallet; being usually impatient and averse to commence his subjects, until his genius and good humour were propitious. For this reason his works are few, but conducted in a happy vein, graceful and finished, both in colour and in taste appearing to breathe of cheerfulness. His style most resembles Annibal's, whose works he copied to admiration, and after whose example, while a few months at Rome, he designed the most finished and noble remnants of Grecian sculpture. There shines also in his countenances the spirit of Passerotti, his earliest master, and more frequently the gracefulness of his near friend, Albani, whose society he enjoyed [Pg 189]both in his studio and his villa, and in works undertaken in conjunction. His S. Gaetano, at the Teatini, is crowned with a glory of exquisitely graceful cherubs, that seem from the hand of Albani; and in his other pictures we often recognise those full countenances, those delicate fleshes, that sweetness, and those sportful expressions, in which revelled the genius of Albani. In point of beauty, the Noli me tangere, at the Celestini, and the Nuptials of St. Catherine, at S. Benedetto, are among his most esteemed pieces; to say nothing of his histories at the Cortile of S. Michele in Bosco, where he left many very elegant specimens.

On occasion of treating strong or tragic subjects, he did not shrink from the task; and although he had a real knowledge of the art, he conducted them without that extreme study of foreshortenings and naked parts, of which others make so lavish a display. He shewed noble clearness and decision, fine colouring, a grand spirit, enlivening them with light and graceful figures, more particularly of women. Such is the Slaughter of the Innocents, at the Bonfigliuoli palace, and the Fall of Christ, at the Certosini, a most imposing production, from the number, variety, and expression of the figures, whose pictoric fire surpasses all we could mention from the hand of Albani. He has left some cabinet pictures, always in good design, and mostly possessing soft and savoury tints; so that all we would farther look for is, occasionally, a more gradual distribution of tints in the background [Pg 190]of his pieces. Among other pupils, he instructed Sebastiano Brunetti, polished by Guido, a sweet and delicate artist, but of brief career; and Antonio Randa of Bologna. Malvasia has observed, that there is little good to be said respecting him, apparently alluding to a deed of homicide committed by him at Bologna. In other respects, he includes him among the best pupils, first of Guido, next of Massari, to whose style he became attached. On account of his reputation the Duke of Modena granted him an asylum in his state, declaring him, according to Orlandi, his court-painter, in 1614. Here he was much employed, and subsequently at Ferrara, for the most part at S. Filippo; also in many places of the Polesine, where I find his Martyrdom of S. Cecilia, in possession of the Sign. Redetti, at Rovigo, the most celebrated of his productions. Finally, he betook himself to the cloister, a fact unnoticed by Malvasia, which might have induced him to speak of him in milder terms.

Pietro Facini entered late into the profession, at the suggestion of Annibal Caracci, who from one of his playful sketches in charcoal, declared how excellent a painter he would become, if he were to enter his school. Annibal subsequently regretted the discovery, not only because Facini's progress excited his jealousy, but, because, on leaving the academy, he became his rival in educating young artists, and even plotted against his life. He has two striking characteristics, vivacity [Pg 191]in his gestures, and in the expression of his heads, such as to place him on a footing with Tintoretto, and a truth of carnations, which induced Annibal himself to observe, that he seemed to have ground human flesh in his colours. With this exception, he has nothing superior; feeble in point of design, too large in his naked figures of adults, incorrect in the placing of his hands and heads. Neither had he time to perfect himself, dying young, and before the Caracci, in 1602. There is a picture of the Patron Saints, at S. Francesco, in Bologna, with a throng of cherubs, which is indeed among his best works. In the Malvezzi collection, and in others of the city, are much esteemed some of his Country Dances, and Sports of Boys, in the manner of Albani, but on a larger scale. He had a pupil in Gio. Mario Tamburini, who afterwards attached himself to Guido, forming himself on his manner, as we have already stated.

Francesco Brizio, gifted with rare genius, was, up to his twentieth year, employed as a shoe-maker's boy. Impelled, at length, by his bias for the art, he acquired a knowledge of design from Passerotti, and of engraving from Agostino Caracci. Lastly, he commenced painting under Lodovico, and very soon arrived at such celebrity, that by some he has been pronounced the most eminent disciple of the Caracci. Doubtless, if we except the previous five, he was equal to any others, and, excepting Domenichino, gifted with the most universal genius. He was not deficient, like Guido, in perspective; [Pg 192]nor in the branch of landscape, like Tiarini; nor in splendour of architecture, like so many others. In these accessaries he surpassed all his rivals, as we gather from his histories, painted for S. Michele in Bosco; at least such was the opinion of Andrea Sacchi. He is extremely correct in his figures, and perhaps approached Lodovico more closely than any other artist. The graceful beauty of his cherubs excites admiration, an excellence at that period so greatly studied by all the school; and here, in the opinion of Guido, he outshone even Bagnacavallo. His chief talent lay in imitation; owing to which, and his character for indecision, in addition to the number of great artists, superior to him in manners, he was deprived of assistants and commissions, and reduced to execute such as he had solicited at very insignificant prices. One of the most extensive altar-pieces in the city is from his hand, representing the Coronation of the Virgin, at S. Petronio, with a few figures in the foreground truly joyous and well arranged; besides others in the distance grouped and diminished with art; a picture of great merit even in strength of colouring. He produced also for the noble family Angelelli the Table of Cebes, in one grand painting; the work of an entire year, which displayed all the depth, imagination, and genius of a great artist. There are also a number of small engravings from his hand, in which he often approaches Guido.

His son Filippo and Domenico degli Ambrogi, [Pg 193]called Menichino del Brizio, were his most distinguished disciples. These artists painted more for private ornament than for that of the churches. The latter became celebrated for his design; was employed chiefly in friezes for chambers, in architecture, and landscape in fresco, sometimes in conjunction with Dentone and Colonna, sometimes alone. He was also a finished artist of pictures for private rooms, occasionally exhibiting there copious histories, as in that we read of in the full and well drawn up catalogue of the Sig. Canon Vianelli's pictures at Chioggia. It presents us with the entrance of a pontiff into the city of Bologna. It is not surprising that he should be acknowledged and esteemed even in the Venetian territories, having been the preceptor of Fumiani, and master of Pierantonio Cerva, who painted a good deal for the Paduan state.

Gio. Andrea Donducci, called from his father's profession Mastelletta,[41] inherited a genius for the art. Impatient, however, of the precepts of the Caracci, his masters, he neglected to ground himself in the art, was unequal to designing naked figures, and far from producing any masterpiece. His method was short, and wholly intent upon attracting the eye by effect; loading his pictures with shadow in such a way as to conceal the outlines, and opposing to his shadows masses of light sufficiently strong, thus succeeding in disguising from judges the inaccuracies of his design, and gratifying [Pg 194]the multitude with a display of apparent novelty. I have often imagined that this artist had great influence with the sect of the Tenebrosi, which afterwards spread itself through the Venetian state, and almost every district in Lombardy. He was enabled to support his credit by a noble spirit of design, by a tolerable imitation of Parmigianino, the sole artist adapted to his disposition, and by a natural facility that enabled him to colour a very large extent of canvass in a short time. Among such specimens are the Death, and the Assumption of the Virgin, at the Grazie, and some similar histories, not unfrequent in Bologna. Perhaps his picture of S. Irene, at the Celestini, is superior to any other. When advanced in life, hearing the applause bestowed on the clear, open style, he began to practise it, but with no kind of success, not possessing ability to appear to advantage out of his own obscure manner. In his former one he had painted at S. Domenico two miracles of the saint, which were esteemed his masterpieces; but these he altered according to his new method, and they were thenceforth regarded among his most feeble performances. In his half-figures the same diversity of manner is observable; and those executed in the first, such as his Miracle of the Manna, in the Spada palace, with others at Rome, are justly held in esteem. The same may be said of his landscapes, which, in many galleries, are attributed to the Caracci; but the taste in the rapidity of touch, very original [Pg 195]and remarkable in Mastelletta, is sufficient to distinguish them. Annibal was so well pleased with these pictures for galleries, that, having his company at Rome, he advised him to settle there and confine himself to similar labours; advice by no means pleasing to Donducci. But he a good deal frequented the studio of Tassi, and these artists mutually assisted each other, freely communicating between themselves what they knew. Soon after he returned to Bologna, and resumed his more extensive works; but met with serious disappointments, such as to induce him to enter as a friar, first among the Conventuals, next with the canons of S. Salvatore. He educated no pupils of merit, except that one Domenico Mengucci, of Pesaro, resembled Mastelletta a good deal in his landscape; an artist better known at Bologna than in his native place.

Besides the forementioned disciples of the Caracci academy, several others are entitled to consideration; such as Schedone and more names recorded in the schools already described, with a few yet left to mention in those of which we have to treat. Many names will also find a place among the Bolognese painters of landscape, or those of perspective. A few others, who devoted themselves to figures, have been scarcely alluded to by Malvasia, either because then living, or not so distinguished as some of the preceding; nevertheless they are not despicable, for to hold a second or third rank, where Domenichino and Guido [Pg 196]are the foremost, is a degree of honour not to be regretted. One of these is Francesco Cavazzone, a writer too on the art, of whom the Canon Crespi subsequently collected very ample notices, in particular extolling a Magdalen kneeling at the feet of the Redeemer, a truly imposing picture, that ornamented the church of that saint in via S. Donato. Of much the same degree of merit was Vincenzio Ansaloni, who gave only two altar-pieces to the public, but sufficient to establish his title to the character of a great artist. Giacomo Lippi, called also Giacomone da Budrio, was another distinguished artist, of universal genius, in whose fresco histories at the portico of the Nunziata we trace the pupil of Lodovico, not very select, but of prompt and practised hand. Some pictures in fresco too by Piero Pancotto, at S. Colombano, gave rise to feelings of disgust from the ridicule attempted to be cast on his own parish priest, caricatured by him in the features of a holy evangelist, though as an artist he could not be despised.

Among the histories at S. Michele in Bosco, already described, is seen the Sepulture of the SS. Valeriano and Tiburzio by Alessandro Albini, a painter of spirit; the Giving Alms of S. Cecilia, by Tommaso Campana, who afterwards followed Guido; the St. Benedict among the Thorns, by Sebastiano Razali; the Conference between Cecilia and Valeriano, by Aurelio Bonelli; all respectable artists, except that Malvasia blames the [Pg 197]last mentioned as unworthy of a school productive of so many noble disciples; but it is rare that in such rich abundance some abortive specimen does not appear. Florio and Gio. Batista Macchi, Enea Rossi, Giacinto Gilioli, Ippolito Ferrantini, Pier-Maria Porettano, Antonio Castellani, Antonia Pinelli;[42] all these gave to the Bolognese public some superior specimens of their skill, and more in the adjacent places; and we may add Gio. Batista Vernici, who was subsequently employed by the Duke of Urbino. Nothing remains there from the hand of Andrea Costa, or of Vincenzio Gotti; of whom the former, according to Malvasia, painted for the S. Casa of Loreto some admirable pieces, now known, if I mistake not, under another name. The latter resided in the kingdom of Naples, mostly at Reggio, an artist of singular rapidity, whose altar-pieces in that city alone amount to the number of two hundred and eighteen. Other followers of the Caracci are known to have renounced painting in favour of engraving and sculpture. The academy was closed on Lodovico's death; and the casts, with other requisites for the art, remained for a long period at Bologna. Domenico Mirandola, on the opening of Facini's academy, quitted that of Lodovico, became a celebrated [Pg 198]sculptor, enriched himself with the spoils of both, and kept an open studio, regulated according to the method of his first masters; called for this reason by some the studio of the Caracci. Names, however, are not realities; and correctness of design was not maintained in this soi-disant academy, but gradually deteriorated; the honour of its revival being reserved for the genius of Cignani, of whom we shall say more in our fourth epoch.

The review of the Bolognese artists is here complete. In the year 1617 the state of Ravenna had to boast a Guarini, an artist of a sound style, not far removed from that of the Caracci, if we may judge from a Pietà, at S. Francesco, in Rimini, to which place he belonged. There too was one Matteo Ingoli, who is mentioned in the Venetian School, to which he wholly devoted his talents. To the same state belonged the family of Barbiani, who have continued down to this period their services to their country. Giambatista, the most ancient, is mentioned by Orlandi; his school is not known, though he possesses an attractive manner, much resembling Cesi's, but differing from him in the study of each figure, and on this account unequal with himself. His St. Andrew, and his St. Joseph, on two altars at the Francescani; his S. Agatha, in the church of that name, with other pieces in different places, are well executed in oil. In the chapel of N. Signora del Sudore, in the cathedral, is the vaulted ceiling painted by him with an Assumption of the [Pg 199]Virgin, which, even compared with Guido's cupola at Ravenna, does not displease. A son of Gio. Batista succeeded him in his profession, not in his reputation; from whom, or some other member of the family, sprung Andrea Barbiani, who, on the corbels of the said ceiling, coloured the four evangelists, and painted several altar-pieces both at Ravenna and at Rimini. After examining his manner, and in particular his tints, I believe him to have been a pupil, or at least a disciple of P. Pronti of Rimini, shortly before commended among Guercino's disciples along with Gennari, also from that place. Here likewise we shall mention a third, sprung from the school of Padovanino, but residing in his native place; a painter more of pictures for private ornament than for churches. His name was Carlo Leoni, and he competed with Centino in his picture of the Penitence of David, at the Oratorio, and with other excellent figurists who then flourished in Romagna. Among Guercino's disciples will be found also natives of Cesena; and I am convinced that many other artists of Romagna were retained by him at Cento; a fact which is alluded to in his life, without any mention of the names.

At Faenza, in the time of the Caracci, flourished one Ferraù da Faenza, with the additional family appellation of Fanzoni, or Faenzoni, derived probably from his country. According to Titi he was pupil to Vanni, but left nothing at Rome besides his fresco paintings at the Scala [Pg 200]Santa, at S. Gio. Laterano, and in great number at S. Maria Maggiore. They consist of scripture histories, of exact design, very pleasing tints, and good mixture of colours; mostly executed in competition with Gentileschi, Salimbeni, Novara, and Croce. From his hand is the S. Onofrio, in the cathedral at Foligno, with several pieces at Ravenna and Faenza, where however his manner seems to have changed. There I heard him included among the pupils of the Caracci, from whom perhaps he some time studied. Nor is this at all difficult to believe on contemplating the chapel of S. Carlo, in the cathedral, or his Deposition from the Cross, at the nunnery of S. Domenico; or his Probatica, at the confraternity of S. Giovanni, which is the best preserved of all his pictures in the district, and nearest resembling Lodovico's style. I am assured that his real family was the Fenzoni, of noble origin, now extinct at Faenza; and that he died in his native place in 1645, aged 83. It is related that he perpetrated an atrocious deed, having assassinated, out of mere professional jealousy, one Manzoni of Faenza, a young artist of rising reputation, as is apparent from several of his pictures, of which two are in the possession of the Ab. Strocchi, Giudice di Pace, in Faenza. Nor is he less esteemed for his altar-pieces, particularly that of the Martyrdom of S. Eutropio Vescovo, exhibited in that church. He would have shone a distinguished ornament of the art, had not his career been thus untimely cut short [Pg 201]by envy. The assassin artist failed to restore to Painting that of which he had deprived her, even by educating his two young daughters, Teresa, who painted much for her native place, and Claudia Felice, perhaps her superior, at Bologna, where she died in 1703.

One Tommaso Misciroli left several specimens of his hand at Faenza, known generally by the name of Pittor Villano. He flourished after Ferraù,[TN8] and owed his reputation to his genius rather than to any precepts of the art. Neither in his design, his expression, nor his costume, has he any thing to recommend him, and in these he often errs. But in the vivacity of his attitudes, in his colouring, acquired from Guido, his draperies from the Venetians, he is equal to many of this school; yet this remark applies only to a few works executed with much care. The best of these is at the church of S. Cecilia, where he has exhibited the martyrdom of that saint; and in the scene is introduced an executioner stirring up the flames, a figure almost copied from the grand picture by Lionello, at the church of S. Domenico in Bologna.

Gaspero Sacchi da Imola is known to me only from some pictures he conducted at Ravenna, and recorded first by Fabbri, next by Orlandi. It is uncertain to what country the Cav. Giuseppe Diamantini belonged, called by some in mistake Giovanni; but generally acknowledged to have been a native of Romagna. In the twenty-eighth volume of the Antichità Picene it is asserted [Pg 202]that he came from Fossombrone. He resided at Venice, and left at S. Moisè an Epiphany, in which he displays great freedom of hand, and a bold effect in the execution. He is more celebrated in collections belonging to the Venetian state than in churches, being met with at Rovigo and at Verona, where, in Casa Bevilacqua, are some heads of philosophers in a very novel manner. His character indeed consisted in this kind of painting, and he would seem to have derived his idea of them from Salvator Rosa.

We shall now proceed to treat of the landscape, flower, and perspective painters; all artists in short connected with minor branches of the art. On this subject the historians who preceded me have attributed no improvement to the Caracci, except in landscape; though I believe that their prevailing maxim of shunning all caprice and fallacy, and confining themselves to representations of truth and nature in the art, spread its influence from the human figure down to the insect, from the tree to the fruit, from the palace to the cottage. In a similar way too was introduced the maxim of avoiding in literature that affectation, prevalent in the sixteenth century, in favour of the purity of better ages; owing to which the style of writing, from that of history even to familiar correspondence, from the poetry of the epic to the sonnet, shone with real lustre.

Gio. Batista Viola and Gio. Francesco Grimaldi were the two leading painters of landscape at that [Pg 203]period, in the manner of the Caracci. Viola was among the first to exclude from painting that hard, dry style so much practised by the Flemish. He has been mentioned as being at Rome, where he established himself, and decorated with landscape-frescos different villas belonging to those nobles; in particular the Villa Pia. But portable pictures of this artist are rarely to be met with, except, that being in company with Albani at Rome, his landscapes were frequently introduced into the pictures of the latter, and may be recognized in that city by judges as those of Viola, like Mola's in other pieces of Albani at Bologna. Grimaldi continued many years in the service of different pontiffs at Rome; and some years in that of the Car. Mazarini at Paris, and of Louis XIV. He surpassed Viola in good fortune as well as science; a noble architect, excellent in perspective, in figures, and as an engraver of Titian's landscapes and of his own. His prints display singular judgment in the individual parts, and great beauty in their edifices; he is also much more ample in drawing the foliage than the Caracci, and also very different; as is observed in the Lettere Pittoriche.[43] His design always answers to the workmanship; his touch is light, his colouring very strong, only partaking too much of the green. He was employed by Innocent X., in competition with other artists, in the Quirinal and in the Vatican palace; and was also selected to decorate some [Pg 204]churches, in particular at S. Martino a' Monti. The Colonna gallery is enriched with his views, and he is often met with in others, though not so much sought after in foreign parts as Claude and Poussin. Such is their number, that I doubt not some of his works were executed by his son Alessandro, who, according to Orlandi, was a disciple and follower of Gio. Francesco. His specimens are not equally abundant at Bologna, where, about the same period, other landscape painters are known to have flourished.

We have extolled Mastelletta, and now for a similar taste we must praise Benedetto Possenti, a pupil of Lodovico, and also a spirited painter of figures. His landscapes present us with seaports, embarkations, fairs, festivals, and the like objects. Bartolommeo Loto, or Lotti, was also held in high esteem, first a disciple and next competitor of Viola, one who invariably adhered to the taste of the Caracci. Paolo Antonio Paderna, a pupil of Guercino, afterwards of Cignani, displayed in his landscape admirable imitation of Guercino's manner. There was likewise Antonio dal Sole, from the circumstance of painting with his left hand, denominated il Monchino de' Paesi,[44] Francesco Ghelli, and Filippo Veralli, all sprung from the school of Albani, and all much prized for their rural views in different collections.

Annibal formed, as stated in the second volume, a Gio. da Udine of his own, in a distinguished painter [Pg 205]of fruits, called il Gobbo di Cortona, or il Gobbo de' Caracci. Similar reputation was acquired by two Bolognese artists, Antonio Mezzadri, whose flowers and fruits are in abundance at Bologna; and Anton Maria Zagnani, who received commissions even from princely foreigners. Both were excelled by Paolo Antonio Barbieri, as famous for his representation of animals, flowers, and fruits, as his brother Gio. Francesco for the human figure. He bestowed, however, little study on the art, being too much occupied with his family affairs.[45] There was a pupil of Guido, by birth a Milanese, but settled at Bologna, named Pierfrancesco Cittadini, commonly called il Milanese, who surpassed all his fellow scholars. Some of his altar-pieces shew him to have been capable of greater performances; but following the genius and example of several artists whom he saw at Rome, he restricted himself to painting small pictures on canvass, and small branches of histories and landscapes. Yet these were excelled by his specimens of fruits and flowers, with birds of every kind, to which he occasionally added portraits and very graceful figures, in the same piece. Bologna abounds with [Pg 206]his paintings, as such a line of study proved useful to the quadraturists,[46] who were often desirous to secure Cittadini's assistance and that of his pupils in their ornamental labours.

For portraits drawn from life, without any other accessaries, Gio. Francesco Negri, pupil of Fialetti, in Venice, was then in credit at Bologna; where he had for his fellow pupil Boschini, who finally became a designer and engraver in copper. Commendations of Negri are met with in the volumes of Malvasia and of Crespi.

Bologna had to boast little that was great in regard to ornamental architecture up to the time of Dentone (Girolamo Curti), who became its restorer also in other parts of Italy. I say restorer, inasmuch as Gio. and Cherubino Alberti at Rome, and the Sandrini at Brescia, with the Bruni in Venice, had produced some fine specimens. Nor, if we consider the times, were Agostino dalle Prospettive and Tommaso Lauretti, in Bologna itself, destitute of merit, as we have already stated. But their models being either neglected or corrupted by their successors, produced no solid advantage to the art; so that there were either no quadraturists in any cities of Italy, or they were extremely rare, and esteemed only as the refuse of the figurists. Dentone, with his companions, not only revived, but elevated and enlarged this art. Sprung from a spinning manufactory of the Signori Rizzardi, he commenced under Lionello Spada to attempt the design of figures; and finding [Pg 207]this too difficult, he turned to ornamental painting, and acquired from Baglione the use of the rule, and to draw the lines. He proceeded no farther with this master; but, having purchased the works of Vignola and Serlio, he in these studied the different orders of architecture, grounded himself in perspective, formed a solid and well regulated taste, which he farther improved with what he saw at Rome, among the remains of ancient architecture. He attempted much in the form of relief, which is indeed the soul of this profession. His fine illusions of cornices, colonnades, lodges, balustrades, arches, and modiglioni, seen with the effect of foreshortening, have led to the supposition of his being assisted by stuccos, or some materials of strong relief; while the whole is produced by the effect of chiaroscuro, brought to a facility, truth, and grace never before seen. In his colours he preserved those of the stones and marbles; avoiding those tints of gems and precious stones, afterwards introduced at the expense of all verisimilitude. It was an invention of his to lay gold-leaf over his works in fresco. He made use of burnt oil, with turpentine and yellow wax, melted together, and placed, in a dissolved state, with a fine pencil, on the parts where the lights occur, and where the gold leaf is applied. Still he but sparingly availed himself of such discovery, consigning its abuse to his followers. Anxious for durability, he was accustomed to rough sketch, and afterwards to fill up with other [Pg 208]layers, then making of the whole one solid impasto, or mingled layers of colours; while in the most exposed spots, not trusting wholly to the plaster, he united very fine portions of white marble, as subtly inserted as we see in the façade of the Grimaldi palace. He thus conferred fresh lustre on both palaces and churches; and next proceeding to the theatres, he exhibited novel spectacles in them. The nearmost scenes he painted with the most commanding power of shade, and diminishing its depth by degrees, conducted the eye to the most remote with sensations of harmony and delight. This contrast of depth and sweetness gave the illusion of an immense prospect in small space; and such was the degree of relief in the edifices there represented, that numbers, on the first appearance, went upon the stage in order to explore the reality more nearly. His excellence in this respect soon obtained him commissions out of Bologna; from the Card. Legate, at Ravenna, from the sovereigns of Parma and Modena, and at Rome from Prince Lodovisi, for whom he painted a hall, which outshone the Sala Clementina, decorated by Gio. Alberti, until then esteemed the most admirable of its kind.

It was Dentone's custom to retain the services of a figurist, in order to model his statues, prepare his chiaroscuri, figures of boys, and sometimes even animals and flowers, with all which he ornamented, not always with discreetness, his architectural views. The most erudite among the [Pg 209]young artists here vied in offers of their services, desirous of profiting by the same art, and acquiring reputation. In the hall of the Conti Malvasia, at Trebbio, he was assisted by Brizio, Francesco and Antonio Caracci, and Valesio; also by Massari, in the grand chapel of S. Domenico, who attended him as well in the library of the fathers of S. Martino, where he painted the celebrated Dispute of S. Cirillo. In the Tanara palace he even engaged Guercino, who there exhibited his grand Hercules; while elsewhere he was assisted by Campana, Galanino, and Spada, and a few cartoons were afforded him by Guido himself. But his most useful colleague was Angiol Michele Colonna, who arriving at an early age from Como, and having studied some time under Ferrantini, finally united himself with Dentone, and became celebrated throughout Europe. This artist, according to Crespi, enjoyed the reputation of the greatest fresco painter of whom Bologna could boast; such was his spirited drawing both of men and animals, such his eminence in perspective, and every species of ornamental work, that he was himself alone equal to any grand undertaking, and painted alone an entire chamber at the Florentine court, and a chapel at S. Alessandro, in Parma. The perspectives in the tribune of that church were by his hand; the figures by Tiarini; and in several other places the perspectives were by Dentone, the figures by Colonna. It formed his peculiar talent, with whatever painter he might engage, so to adapt [Pg 210]himself to the style and spirit of his colleague, that the entire work seemed the idea of the same mind, the product of a single hand. Nor did he require any delay; for whilst his companion proceeded with his own portion, he, with wonderful velocity, consistency, and admirable harmony, despatched the work; a gift for which he was very generally sought after, and more particularly by Dentone, who retained him after his return from Rome, until the period of his decease.

Whilst these two celebrated men thus promoted their profession, there was rising into notice one Agostino Mitelli, a youth of very prolific genius, not unacquainted with the figure, which Passeri supposes he acquired from the Caracci, and well-grounded in perspective and architecture, under Falcetta. When the two friends were engaged in decorating the archiepiscopal palace at Ravenna, and at the courts of Parma and Modena, Mitelli alternately assisted the figurist and the quadraturist. This last, however, was the art he most affected, and to which, on separating from his masters, he finally devoted himself. His first labours proved very attractive to the public; not that they equalled the force, solidity, and reality of Dentone, but on account of their peculiar grace and beauty, such as almost to obtain for him the fame of the Guido of the quadraturists. Employing his own taste, he softened down the harder features of the art, made the elevations more delicate, the tints more mild, and added a style of [Pg 211]foliage, scrolls, and arabesques, decorated with gold, such as seemed to breathe of grace. The play of the ornaments varied with the nature of the edifices; some ideas were adapted to halls, some to churches, and others to theatres. Each ornament filled its appropriate place, at just intervals; the entire work finally according with a delightful symmetry and harmony, so as to take by surprise people not yet familiar with similar illusions, and to remind them, as it were, of the enchanted palaces of the romancers. Mitelli's first assistants were two of his fellow pupils in this art, Andrea Sighizzi and Gio. Paderna, with occasionally the figurist Ambrogi; names not unworthy of[TN9] a place in the history of the arts, though unequal to compete with such a colleague.

Colonna alone seemed born to associate with him, as he did after the death of his favourite Curti. An intimacy ensued, which was like the second act of Angiol Michele's life; an intimacy which, strengthened by mutual esteem and interest, and cherished by habit and kind offices, continued during twenty-four years, until terminated by the death of Mitelli. These two friends added greatly to the excellent models of the art at Bologna; and among their most celebrated labours are the chapel of Rosario, and the hall of the Conti Caprara. Elsewhere, as in the Bentivogli and Pepoli palaces, Agostino produced only specimens of architecture; and in others we see his pictures of perspective conducted a guazzo, with figures [Pg 212]by Gioseffo, his son, a disciple of Torre, who engraved even better than he painted. In their commissions beyond Bologna, Mitelli and Colonna were always invited together; as to Parma, to Modena, to Florence, by their respective rulers; by the Marchesi Balbi to Genoa, and by Cardinal Spada to Rome, whose ample hall they enlarged, as it were, and dignified by means of feigned colonnades, artful recesses, and magnificent steps, where numbers of figures, arrayed in varied and novel drapery, were seen ascending and descending. Called subsequently to the court of Philip IV., they decorated three chambers and a magnificent hall in Madrid, where Colonna, too, produced his so highly extolled Fable of Pandora. They here sojourned for the space of two years, the last of Mitelli's life, who died much regretted by the whole court, and by the Spanish artists, at whose head stood Diego Velasquez.

Colonna returned into Italy, and as a third act of his life, we may record the twenty-seven years which he afterwards lived; during the earlier portion, availing himself, for his architectures, of the services of Giacomo Alboresi, Mitelli's great pupil; and in the latter, of Giovacchino Pizzoli, his own scholar, known also among painters of landscape. Crespi adds the name of Gio. Gherardini, and Antonio Roli, or Rolli according to the Cav. Titi, whose specimens in this branch, at the Certosa of Pisa, he extols as perfect miracles of the art (p. 301). In this trio are included all belonging [Pg 213]to Colonna's school. It is observed by Malvasia, that from Mitelli's society, Angiol Michele himself derived utility, as regarded architecture; not that he ever equalled his deceased friend, but from adopting thenceforward a more elegant manner. This progress is apparent in the cupola of S. Biagio; as well as in the ceiling and in a chapel of S. Bartolommeo, decorated by him after his return from Spain. Other specimens he produced at this period, at Ponzacco, a villa of the Marchese Nicolini, of Florence; in the Morisini palace, at Padua, and at Paris, for M. Lionne, state secretary to the French king. Colonna attained the age of eighty-six, and left, at his death, numerous professors of an art, which he and his two colleagues may almost be said to have invented, and given to the public.

I have enumerated different young artists of these schools; and they, too, united together, traversing Italy in the service of princes and nobles, and forming pupils in every place; so that no art ever spread more rapidly. Gio. Paderna, pupil to Dentone, and next an accomplished imitator of Mitelli, became the colleague of Baldassare Bianchi; and the latter, at the death of Paderna, having become Mitelli's son-in-law, was placed companion, by the father-in-law, with Gio. Giacomo Monti. This partnership also met with success in Italy, in particular at Mantua, where they both received regular salaries. Their figure-painter was Gio. Batista Caccioli, of Budrio, pupil to Canuti, [Pg 214]and a good disciple of Cignani, who left frescos, altar-pieces, and private pictures; in particular, his heads of old men, in high request. Another son-in-law of Mitelli, Giacomo Alboresi, was much employed at the court of Parma, in that of Florence, and in the villa Capponi, of Colonnata. He was assisted in his figures by Fulgenzio Mondini, and on his death, by Giulio Cesare Milani, who was esteemed the best pupil of Torre. Domenico Santi, named Mengazzino, was also one of the ablest among Mitelli's pupils, and left, at the Servi, in S. Colombano, and in the Ratta palace, some fine works in perspective, with figures by Giuseppe Mitelli, by Burrini, and most of all by Canuti, never having left his native place. His perspectives, on canvass, are highly esteemed in cabinets, and are sometimes hardly to be distinguished from those of Agostino. Andrea Sighizzi, the father and master of three artists, was employed also at Turin, Mantua, and Parma, where he received a salary from the court, and had Pasinelli for his best companion. It would carry us too far, to recount all the quadraturists sprung from these schools; nor would all, perhaps, deserve commemoration. Though no art was more rapidly extended, none sooner degenerated; caprice usurped the place of sound rules of architecture, and was carried to a pitch of extravagance and impertinence, when the Borrominesque taste began to extend through Italy. Architecture itself, which forms the basis of this profession, began, in course of time, to be [Pg 215]regarded as an accessary; a greater share of study was employed in the vases of flowers, in festoons, in fruits, and foliages, and certain novelties of grotesque, against which both Algarotti and Crespi have so justly and successfully inveighed.

We cannot close this account without the name of Giovannino da Capugnano, an artist very fully treated of by Malvasia and Orlandi, and highly extolled in the studies of the painters, even in our own days. Misled by a pleasing self-delusion, he believed himself born to become a painter; like that ancient personage, mentioned by Horace, who imagined himself the owner of all the vessels that arrived in the Athenian port. His chief talent lay in making crucifixes, to fill up the angles, and in giving a varnish to the balustrades. Next, he attempted landscape in water-colours, in which were exhibited the most strange proportions, of houses less than the men; these last smaller than his sheep; and the sheep again than his birds. Extolled, however, in his own district, he determined to leave his native mountains, and figure on a wider theatre at Bologna; there he opened his house, and requested the Caracci, the only artists he believed to be more learned than himself, to furnish him with a pupil, whom he intended to polish in his studio. Lionello Spada, an admirable wit, accepted this invitation; he went and copied designs, affecting the utmost obsequiousness towards his master. At length, conceiving it time to put an end to the jest, he left behind him a most exquisite [Pg 216]painting of Lucretia, and over the entrance of the chamber some fine satirical octaves, in apparent praise, and real ridicule of Capugnano. His worthy master only accused Lionello of ingratitude, for having acquired from him in so short a space the art of painting so beautifully from his designs; but the Caracci at last acquainted him with the joke, which acted as a complete antidote to his folly. In some Bolognese galleries his pictures are preserved as specimens, in some degree connected with pictorial history;[47] and which, though composed with all becoming gravity, are as diverting as any caricature of Miel or of Cerquozzi. Were we to desire a second example of such imbecility in the art, it would be found in Crespi,[48] who gives some account of one Pietro Galletti. Equally persuaded of having been born a painter, Pietro became a laughing-stock to the students, who solemnly invested him with a doctorial degree in the art, assembling for that purpose in the cellar of a monastery.

[23] It must be observed that the two younger Caracci visited Rome, where they continued to instruct their pupils on the same plan. Passeri, in his life of Guido, says, that they were joined by literary men, who proposed history-pieces to them, with premiums for such as should be best executed; and that on one occasion Domenichino, one of the youngest, being preferred above all, Guido was seized with the most lively emulation to eclipse him. The historian adds, that the same method was soon adopted in the Roman academy, and that Car. Barberini, nephew to Urban VIII., presided at the election of the first, and rewarded him with money, and those that next followed, to the fourth member. Moreover he gave the first a commission for a picture from the same subject as the design. What a secret is here shewn for promoting the fine arts.

[24] See Crespi's analysis of the two pictures at the church of the Certosa, (p. 32,) one representing the Scourging of Christ, the other his Crown of Thorns, where the most beautiful art of disposing the light to produce the desired effect is remarkable; with an exquisite effect of perspective, and a degree of invention not to be surpassed in representing the suffering of our Redeemer.

[25] Lettere Pittoriche, tom. vii. lettera 4.

[26] In colours, of which yolk of egg, or a kind of glue, is the vehicle.

[27] See the Dissertazione su la Pittura, by the Canon Lazzarini, in the Catalogue of Pictures at Pesaro, p. 118.

[28] See Malvasia, vol.i. p. 574.

[29] He was likewise very eminent in this branch, being named by Gregory XV. as architect for the Apostolic Palace.

[30] The Cav. Puccini very justly condemns this opinion in his Esame Critico del Webb, p. 49.

[31] See the defence set up by Crespi, both for Domenichino and Massari, another imitator of Agostino's picture. It is inserted in the Certosa di Bologna, described at p. 26. He has also been commended by Bellori for his slowness of hand, who brings forward some of his maxims, such as that, "no single line is worthy of a real painter which is not dictated by the genius before it is traced by the hand; that excellence consists in the full and proper completion of works;" and he used to reproach those pupils who designed in sketch, and coloured by dashes of the pencil (p. 213). We meet with a third apology in Passeri, (p. 4,) for some figures borrowed from the Farnese Gallery, and imitated by Domenichino in the histories of St. Jerome in the portico of S. Onofrio. At p. 9 too he defends him in regard to the style of his folds, in which by some he was thought too scanty, and too hard in their disposition.

[32] This rivalship is questioned in many places by Malvasia, and denied by Orlandi, who in the article Francesco Albano, designates him as the sworn friend of Guido Reni, in close union with whom he prosecuted their delightful art; but this can only apply to their early years.

Illam quidquid agat, quoquo vestigia vertat,
Componit furtim, subsequiturque decor.—Tibul.

[34] The harmony and union of colour of this artist would seem to excuse some trifling licenses, respecting which see Lazzarini upon the Paintings of Pesaro, p. 29.

[35] See Crespi, p. 74.

[36] Lacca, a dark red; terra d'ombra, umber.

[37] See p. 75. This MS. is said to have been drawn up previous to 1680. I believe it must be somewhere about 1670, Venanzi being therein described as still young. Notices of the artists of Pesaro and Urbino, collected by Giuseppe Montani, a good landscape-painter, who flourished some time at Venice, are now lost. (Of him, see Malvasia, vol. ii. p. 447.) I have recently read a letter from Sig. Annibale Olivieri to the Prince Ercolani, in which, computing the age of Venanzi, he is unable to make him out a pupil of Cantarini; from which it would appear that he was ignorant of the date of Venanzi's birth, which was about 1628. I admit that he could not have been long instructed by him, nor by Guido, and am more than ever confirmed in my conjecture that he was pupil to Gennari.

[38] Lunetta, an architectural term; meaning that semicircular space, or any other portion of a circle, placed in the walls between the different supports of ceilings.

[39] "To me it seems that painting ought to be considered excellent, the more it inclines towards relief." Bonarruoti, Letter to Varchi, inserted among the Lettere Pittoriche, vol.i. p. 7.

[40] There is a description of this painting contained in a letter of Algarotti, addressed to the learned Zanotti, dated Sept. 1760, in which, though in other works he observes Guercino to have excelled more in colouring than in design, yet respecting this specimen he declares, "that Pesarese himself would here have detected little or nothing to which to object. The folds, especially those of a cloth wrapped round the body of Christ, are admirable. The force and sweetness of his tints are equal to the bold relief of the picture, and the passion with which it is conducted.... I never beheld two figures better set off in one picture, nor did ever Guercino's close light and shade so well unite perhaps in effect as here; whilst the figures are pourtrayed within an apartment, in which that kind of light which affords such strong relief to objects, is represented with an admirable degree of truth."

[41] A pail or bucket maker.

[42] The wife of Bertusio, and admired by Lodovico Caracci for her singular modesty and attachment to the art. Her finest production adorns the Nunziata, composed from Lodovico's design, in which she drew her own portrait with a bonnet, and that of her husband.

[43] Vol. ii. p. 289.

[44] The handless landscape painter.

[45] As the head of the domestic establishment, he inserted in a book the pictures on which he and his brother were employed, with the prices which they obtained. On his death this was continued by Benedetto and Cesare Gennari, who recorded the works conducted by their surviving uncle. Such a registry was very useful to ascertain the dates and prices of the Guercinesque pictures; from the family of Gennari it came into possession of the Prince Ercolani, who made a valuable collection of MSS. and very rare books on the fine arts.

[46] Ornamental and architectural painters.

[47] See Lettere Pittoriche, vol. ii. p. 53.

[48] Crespi, p. 141.

[Pg 217]



Pasinelli, and in particular Cignani, cause a Change in the Style of Bolognese Painting. The Clementine Academy and its Members.

The commencement of the final epoch of the Bolognese School may be dated some years previous to 1700; when Lorenzo Pasinelli and Carlo Cignani had already produced a striking alteration in painting. The disciples of the Caracci, who had imitated Lodovico, and those who had produced new manners, had all disappeared; while the pupils who still continued attached to their taste were very few; consisting of Guercino's Gennari, of Gio. Viani, formerly pupil to Torre, and some other less distinguished names. Pasinelli himself ceased to exist, on the opening of the new century, leaving the entire credit of the preceptorship in the hands of Cignani. This, too, was shortly increased by the formation of a public academy of the fine arts in the city, to which he was appointed president during life. These details are to be met with in the excellent "History of the Clementine Academy" composed by Giampietro Zanotti. Here we are made acquainted with the principles and progress of that celebrated society, which, in the [Pg 218]year 1708, received from Pope Clement XI. its sanction and its name, from the Senate its rooms, and its organization from Count Luigi Ferdinando Marsili; besides effectual support both from him and other nobles; and here also we are presented with the lives of the academicians up to the year 1739. To Zanotti's History, as well as to others of an older date, much useful supplement was added by the Canon Crespi; and upon these two recent works, with a due degree of caution, I propose to rest the authority of my succeeding narrative.

In tracing the origin of the new taste, it will be requisite to go back to 1670, or near that period; when Pasinelli and Cignani, after their return from Rome, commenced teaching and operating, each in their respective method. Lorenzo pursued the design of Raffaello, combined with the fascination of Paul Veronese; while Carlo delighted in the grace of Coreggio, united to Annibal's learning; and both had executed at Rome studies agreeable to their genius. It is reported, that one day they happened to enter upon a long discussion of the relative merits of Raffaello and Coreggio. Would that they had been joined by some new Borghini, as a third party, who might have put the discourse into the form of a dialogue, and have preserved it for posterity! In course of time, Cignani came into higher repute than Pasinelli, though this excited no kind of jealousy; they had both of them wisdom enough to be satisfied each with his own share of genius, and to commend his competitor; [Pg 219]thus abstaining from that indulgence of rivalry which gives, even to the most celebrated artists and writers, an air of meanness. Thus, when the Clementine academy was instituted, the pupils of both masters readily united in serving that new assembly; voluntarily submitting to the direction of Cignani, placed by the pontifical diploma at their head. Thenceforward the style of Cignani came into vogue; though others sprung from it, composed of two or more manners, which may yet be called national. Each has in it something of the Caraccesque, owing to the young artists having commenced their career by designing from the works of the three brothers. A few of these painters exhibit even too much of their manner, and that of the best among other artists; we find figures taken partially from different ancient masters, and worked up into one composition; as we see sometimes done in poetry, with the lines of one or more writers. About this period the study of the beau-ideal received some accession, by means of the casts with which the academy was supplied. The style of coloring is far from careless; though in the principles then adopted, there was a certain method pursued by different artists, from which their shadows have grown deeper, and assumed a rusty colour; and towards the middle of the same epoch, false and capricious colours came into use, and long continued to find patrons. Nor was this error confined solely to the Bolognese School. Balestra, in one of his [Pg 220]letters, dated 1733, inserted in the Pictoric Collection, (vol. ii.) laments the decline of "all the Italian schools," from their having fallen into mistaken methods. Possessing himself in Verona three scholars, capable of great performances, namely, Pecchio, who became a fine landscape painter, Rotari, and Cignaroli, he seems to have had his fears even for them. In particular, speaking of the last, he says, "I fear lest he, too, should suffer himself to be borne away by the prevailing stream, and become enamoured of certain ideal manners, and of a rapid touch; consequently careless of good practice and of rules." Respecting these alterations, however, it is not yet time to treat.

To come down, at present, to the two heads of the school; Pasinelli, who first ceased to live, will first come under our consideration. He received his education in the art from Cantarini; subsequently from Torre, whose school he too early left, owing to which, most probably, he never attained to perfect correctness of design. In this, nevertheless, he surpassed Paul Veronese, who formed his great prototype. He did not imitate him, according to the sectarists; he borrowed from him that effective and majestic composition; but the ideas of the faces, and the distribution of the colours he acquired elsewhere. He was naturally too inclined to create surprise by the display of copious, rich, and spirited compositions; such as his two pictures at the Certosa, of Christ's Entrance into Jerusalem, and his Return into Limbo; and [Pg 221]such too is his History of Coriolanus, in the Casa Ranuzzi, a piece found repeated in many collections. No one can behold these paintings without granting to Pasinelli a true painter's fire, great novelty of idea, and a certain elevated character, never the boast of middling artists. With these gifts, however, he is sometimes too extravagant in his attitudes, and in his Paolesque imitation of spectacles, and strange novel draperies, which he is thought to have carried to an extreme, as in his Preaching of John the Baptist, in which his rival, Taruffi, found, instead of the desert[TN10] of Judea, the piazza of St. Mark, in Venice. He knew, withal, to restrain his fire according to the genius of his themes, as we may see in that Holy Family in possession of the Scalzi; a work partaking of Albani. He painted more for private persons than for the public; uniform in the spirit, varied in the colours of his pictures. Some of these private pictures boast, at once, a softness of hand, and a peculiarly vivid and gay light, that might be taken for those of the Venetians or Lombards; in particular, a few of his Venuses, which are supposed to be portraits of one of his three wives. In a few of his other specimens he displays very little relief, whole colours, a tint almost like that of the Bolognese artists preceding the Caracci; and these I should either attribute to his early youth, or his closing days.

One of the four leading artists of his age was the Cav. Carlo Cignani, as elsewhere stated, a genius [Pg 222]more profound than prompt; a hand eager to engage in labours, but most difficult, and ever dissatisfied in their completion. His picture of Joseph's Flight into Egypt, belonging to the Counts Bighini, of Imola, cost him six months' labour; and many similar instances are recorded. Nevertheless, he always appears complete, never hard or laborious; and his facility is esteemed one of his rarest gifts. Cignani's inventions are often referable to Albani, who was his master. He produced, for a monastery of Piacenza, a picture of the Conception of the Virgin, who, robed in a white garment, is seen bruising the serpent's head; and arrayed in a garment of rich purple, her infant son at her feet, who, with an air at once of dignity and grace, places his foot upon that of his mother;—what a language does this speak, how truly sublime! There is much, too, of a novel and poetic cast, in his Birth of the Virgin, at the cathedral of Urbino; a picture that at Rome was censured even for its novelty. Cignani was likewise a good composer, and so disposed his figures, by the example of the Caracci, as to give his pictures an air of larger dimensions than they really have. His four Scriptural Histories, in four ovals, each sustained by two cherubs, among the most perfectly beautiful in Bologna, are truly attractive ornaments of S. Michele in Bosco; nor are two others less so, of the public hall, where he represented Francis I., in the act of healing the lepers; and Paul III. seen entering into Bologna. Less majestic, [Pg 223]perhaps, but more beautiful, is one of his paintings, in the palace of the ducal garden at Parma. Agostino Caracci had there decorated the ceiling of a chamber; there Cignani exhibited, on the walls, various fables, illustrative of the power of Love; in which, if he surpassed not that great master, he, in the opinion of many, at least equalled him. In design he invariably emulated Coreggio; but, in his outlines, in his beauteous and noble countenances, and in his grand, ample folds, he preserved something original, and distinct from the Lombards; while he is less studious than they respecting the use of foreshortening. He aimed at a strong layer of colours, which were clear and animated like Coreggio's, to which he added, also, a sweetness derived from Guido. He was especially careful in his chiaroscuro, and gave a great degree of roundness to all his objects; which, though in certain subjects it may appear overwrought, and more ample than in nature, is nevertheless pleasing.

His historical pieces are rare; but not so a number of others, containing one or two half-length figures, and still less his Madonnas. One of the most beautiful is in the Albani palace, painted for Clement XI., with the Holy Child; and another, representing her grief, belongs to the Princes Corsini, extremely graceful, as is also the Angel seen consoling her. It would be difficult to decide whether he excelled most in oils or in fresco, which last is the kind of painting in which great artists have ever distinguished themselves. He spent [Pg 224]the closing years of a long life at Forli, where he established his family, and left the proudest monument of his genius in that grand cupola, perhaps the most remarkable of all the pictoric productions belonging to the eighteenth century. The subject is the Assumption of our Lady, the same as in the cathedral at Parma; and here, too, as there, it exhibits such a real paradise, that the more we contemplate it, the more it delights us. Near twenty years were devoted to its production, from time to time; the artist, occasionally, during that period, visiting Ravenna, to consult the cupola by Guido, from whom he took his fine figure of St. Michael, and some other ideas. It is reported that the scaffolds were, against his wish, removed, as he appeared to be never satisfied with retouching and bringing the work to his usual degree of finish.

From these two masters I now proceed to their disciples, and shall annex, also, a few others, who sprung from other schools. Pasinelli had the good fortune to inherit, from Canuti, an excellent master, a number of fine scholars, on the latter quitting Bologna. One of these was Gio. Antonio Burrini, who, while he retained his first master's manner, became attached, also, to the composition of Paolo, so much to the taste of Pasinelli. Indeed, he himself appeared naturally inclined to it, by the richness of his imagination, and his surprising eagerness and industry in his works. He devoted much time to Paolo Veronese, at Venice, often [Pg 225]imitating him in those pictures which are referred to his first style. Distinguished among these is an Epiphany, painted for the noble Ratta family, which yields to very few pieces in their collection. He subsequently executed a martyrdom of S. Vittoria for the cathedral of Mirandola, in competition with Gio. Gioseffo dal Sole; who on beholding it so greatly superior to his own picture, was bitterly mortified. He was reassured, however, by Pasinelli, their common master, who predicted he would become a better artist than Burrini, whose own facility of genius would at length betray him into a mere practical line. And this prediction was very exactly fulfilled, though he continued upwards of fifteen years to paint with tolerable care, both for the Prince of Carignano at Turin, and at Novellara. He in particular appeared to advantage as a fresco painter at Bologna, being by some termed the Pier da Cortona, or the Giordano of his school. His fresco histories in the Casa Albergati are well deserving notice, as are those in the Alamandini and the Bigami families, with others produced in early youth. Impelled at length by the cares of an increasing family to look for greater profits, he gave way by degrees to his facility of hand, and formed a second style, which, owing to the indolence of human nature, obtained more disciples than his first.

Gio. Gioseffo dal Sole, on the contrary, burned to become each day more perfect, and raised himself to one of the first posts among the artists of [Pg 226]his age. He had constant commissions from noblemen, both native and foreign, and received invitations also from the courts of Poland and of England. For some time he preserved a style conforming to Pasinelli's; and in order to improve it from the same sources he frequently returned to Venice, though he never attained to that degree of beauty, in his more elegant subjects, that formed the boast of his master. In many particulars, however, he displays exquisite grace; as in the hair and plumes of the angels, and equally in the accessaries, such as the veils, bracelets, crowns, and armour. He seems to have been inclined also more than Pasinelli to treat powerful themes; more observant of costume, more methodical in composition, and more informed in point of architecture and landscape. In these indeed he is almost unique; and the most beautiful specimens, perhaps, are to be seen at the Casa Zappi in Imola, representing Evening, Night, and Morning, all very pleasingly distributed, and with sober tints, such as the subject required. His other works display, in most instances, the most lovely play of vivid fluctuating light, more especially in his holy pieces and celestial visions, as we see in the St. Peter of Alcantara, at S. Angiolo in Milan. Moreover, he was more exact and polished than Pasinelli; not that he was by any means deficient in celerity in conducting his works, but esteemed it unworthy of an upright character to confer upon them less perfection than he was capable [Pg 227]of bestowing. Being employed at Verona for the noble family of Giusti, where he left several mythological pieces and scriptural histories, truly beautiful, he completed one of Bacchus and Ariadne, which artists pronounced excellent, within a week. Yet he cancelled almost the whole, to remodel it according to his own wish, declaring that it was enough to have shewn his rapidity of hand to satisfy others, but that it became his duty, by additional accuracy, to satisfy also himself. Hence his fresco at S. Biagio in Bologna, which is his greatest work, cost him an infinite deal of labour in its completion; and in conducting his altar-pieces, few and valuable, as well as in his private pictures, which are very numerous, he called for high remuneration, persevering in his determination to paint only with care. In this artist, as many others, two manners are observable, of which the second partakes of Guido Reni's. It is on record, that he became attached to it late in life, and was less successful in it. It appears to me that a large portion of his pictures nearly approach the taste of Guido, and that the surname of the modern Guido, conferred upon him by so many, has not been granted as matter of favour, nor at the expense of little time.

No artist of these times could boast more disciples than Giangioseffo dal Sole, if we except Solimene, who was held by him in high esteem. In order to study his paintings, executed for the Counts Bonaccorsi, Dal Sole went to Macerata, [Pg 228]where he conducted a few works for the church of the Vergini, and for the house of the said nobles. I am uncertain if he derived from this visit that style of colouring, more attractive than natural, such as we find it in some of his smaller pictures, and in some Bolognese artists who succeeded him. From his school sprung Felice Torelli of Verona, and Lucia Casalini, his wife, of a Bolognese family. Torelli came to it already instructed in the art, acquired in his native place from Sante Prunato, whose taste he, in a great measure, preserved. He became a painter of strong character, fine chiaroscuro, and of no common merit in canvass paintings for altars. These are found at Rome, Turin, Milan, and other cities of Italy. That of S. Vincenzio is most conspicuous, in the act of freeing a female possessed, at the Domenicans of Faenza; a picture finely varied in the heads, in the draperies, and the attitudes. Lucia likewise painted for some churches, as nearly as she could in her consort's style; but her chief merit lay in portrait, such as to obtain for her admission of her own in the royal gallery at Florence. Another artist of her sex, initiated in the art of design by Sirani, and in colouring by Taruffi and Pasinelli, received her last instructions from Gioseffo dal Sole. Her name was Teresa Muratori Scannabecchi, who was in the habit of painting a good deal by herself, and with great credit. Assisted by her master, she executed a picture of St. Benedict in the act of preserving [Pg 229]the life of a child; a very graceful production and of good effect, exhibited in a chapel of S. Stefano.

Francesco Monti, another pupil of the same school, was endowed by nature with an enthusiasm for ample and copious subjects, to which he applied himself without much previous culture, either from imitation or from art. He executed for the Counts Ranuzzi, who patronised him, a picture of the Rape of the Sabines; and for the court of Turin the Triumph of Mardocheo; works abounding with figures, and highly extolled; besides many other oil paintings for different collections and churches. But his surpassing merit is to be sought for in his frescos, and more particularly at Brescia, in which city he fixed his residence. He also conducted many pieces for the adjacent places, applauded for his fertile genius and his masterly style of colouring. A number of churches and noble houses, such as the Martinengo, the Avogadro, the Barussi, were also decorated by him on a very extended scale of painting. Some portraits, too, executed by his daughter Eleonora, who received constant commissions from the same nobility, are held in high esteem.

Gio. Batista Grati and Cesare Mazzoni remained at Bologna, and as belonging to the Clementine Academicians who then flourished, we meet with their lives in Zanotti. Subsequent to their decease, Crespi was enabled to treat their memory with more fairness. He praises the accuracy of the former, and regrets his want of talent; the second he pronounces a commendable artist, [Pg 230]observing that he was long employed at Faenza, Turin, and Rome, as well as at Bologna itself; though not with good fortune. Antonio Lunghi also flourished for the most part in foreign states; at Venice, in Rome, and the kingdom of Naples. He returned, at an advanced age, to his native place, where there is his picture of S. Rita at S. Bartolommeo, and others in different churches, which merited for their author some favourable consideration of Crespi. Yet he has omitted him, for the purpose, as I suppose, of reserving him for the fourth volume of the "Felsina Pittrice." It would be too much to attempt a complete sketch of Gio. Gioseffo's disciples who flourished in other schools, such as Francesco Pavona of Udine, a good painter in oil, and better in crayons; superior in his large altar-pieces, and still more in his portraits. He afterwards studied at Milan, and thence proceeded to Genoa; next into Spain, Portugal, and Germany, being well received in all these courts; after which he married and had a family at Dresden. Subsequently he returned to Bologna, which he left in the course of a few years for Venice, where he shortly afterwards died. Francesco Comi also left Bologna, called il Fornaretto,[49] and the Mute of Verona, being deprived both of speech and hearing. Nevertheless he was distinguished in the art, and is commemorated by Pozzo among the artists of his country, and also by Orlandi. There are others, of whom we make mention in almost every school.

[Pg 231]Donato Creti, a cavalier of the gold spurs, ranks as one of the most eminent of Pasinelli's pupils, and as the most attached to his manner; though he was inclined to modify it with that of Cantarini, and of both composed a third, sufficiently noble and graceful. He would have made it still more free and original, had he applied himself diligently in early youth; which he omitted to do, and carried his regrets for such omission down with him to the tomb. His merit is impaired by his colouring, which has in it something hard and crude; entertaining a maxim, that tints, such as they are in nature, ought to be employed, and left to time for sobering and harmonizing—a maxim by some attributed to Paul Veronese. If there were ever a painter who knew not when to remove his hand from the canvass, it was Creti. In painting his S. Vincenzio, intended to be placed opposite the S. Raimond of Lodovico, he completed it with every attention to the art; yet was dissatisfied with the work, insomuch that the person who gave the commission was compelled to take it by force out of his studio, in order to place it in the grand church of the Padri Predicatori. This is, perhaps, his best altar-piece. His Alexander's Feast also boasts some merit, executed for the noble Fava family; by some even it is supposed to be his masterpiece. Creti had a pupil, named Ercole Graziani, who added greater power of execution to his master's style, a more enlarged character, greater freedom of hand, with [Pg 232]other qualities which display his superiority. He approached Franceschini and others who succeeded to the school of Cignani. He has been accused by one of his rivals of too much effeminacy in his painting, and study of minutiæ in his ornaments. Others seek for a more just equality in his colours; others more spirit; though all must give him credit for genius and industry equal to compete with the eminent artists of his day, and to surpass many, had he enjoyed the good fortune to have met with an experienced master. He painted for S. Pietro, that Apostle in the act of ordaining S. Apollinare; a history both copious and full of dignity; commissioned by the Cardinal Lambertini, who, on becoming pope, caused him to make a duplicate for the church of S. Apollinare at Rome. Also his pictures of S. Pellegrino, in Sinigaglia, the princes of the Apostles, who take leave, with the most beautiful expression, to meet their martyrdom, placed at S. Pietro in Piacenza, with others belonging to his happier hours, are equally excellent. To Creti and Graziani we have to add Count Pietro Fava, in whose house both were, during some time, brought up, at once assistants and companions in the studies of this noble artist. He is ranked among Pasinelli's pupils and the Clementine academicians; and we have an account of his studying the works of the Caracci, to whose manner, equally with any other artist, he became attached. Although the cavalier is described as a dilettante in the art, yet on [Pg 233]beholding his altar-pieces of the Epiphany and of the Resurrection of Christ, which he presented to the cathedral of Ancona, with a few other productions at Bologna, he appears more worthy of enrolment among its noble professors.

Aureliano Milani acquired the principles of painting from Cesare Gennari and Pasinelli; but, struck with the Caracci's style, he devoted his whole time to copying their compositions entire, as well as separate, repeating his designs of the heads, the feet, the hands, and the outlines. He caught their spirit, without borrowing their forms. It is remarked by Crespi, that no Bolognese shewed more of the Caraccesque in the naked figure, and in the whole symmetry and character of his painting. After Cignani, too, I have heard it noticed, that no one better maintained the design and the credit of the school. In colouring he was not so excellent; sometimes a follower of Gennari, as in his St. Jerome, at the church of the Vita in Bologna, and in some degree in his St. John beheaded, at the church of the Bergamaschi in Rome. Here he took up his residence, being ill able to support a family of ten children at Bologna. Here, too, he abounded with commissions, and promoted with Muratori, another pupil of Pasinelli, established there from early youth, the honour of his native place. Of the last one, however, we have treated under that school.

Aureliano taught during many years at Bologna, and among other pupils of his was the celebrated [Pg 234]Giuseppe Marchesi, called il Sansone. He first studied under Franceschini, whose taste he nearly approaches in the vaulted ceiling of the Madonna di Galiera. It is even the opinion of some, that, in his skill of foreshortening, and in the tone of his colours, no artist succeeded in imitating him so well. He took his design from Milani; though at times his naked portion is rather too much loaded, which I would not venture to say of his master. Among his best pictures is the Martyrdom of S. Prisca, in the Rimini cathedral; an altar-piece of many and fine figures, and good tints, for which the S. Agnese of Domenichino supplied him with some ideas. He painted much for galleries, and among other pieces, one of his pictures representing the four seasons, (where it now is I cannot say,) is reputed, by a first rate judge, among the first works of the modern Bolognese school.

Antonio Gionima was some time also a pupil of Milani. He was a Paduan of obscure birth, whose father and grandfather had been artists; educated first by Simone his father (p. 171), afterwards by Milani, and for a longer period by Crespi. He died young, leaving works highly prized at Bologna for their inventive spirit and for the high tone and clearness of their colouring. His picture of St. Florian and accompanying martyrs was engraved by Mattioli; and a grand canvass history of Haman is shewn in the Ranuzzi apartment, conspicuous among numbers in the same place, where no common artists gained admittance.

[Pg 235]Leaving aside certain other pupils of Pasinelli, of less account, as Odoardo Orlandi, or Girolamo Negri, who had a place, however, in the Dictionary of Painters, we shall close this catalogue with two others, who, becoming friends in the school of Lorenzo, continued their intimacy to extreme old age; Giuseppe Gambarini and Gian Pietro Cavazzoni Zanotti. Gambarini attended the studio of Cesare Gennari, whose rapidity of touch and power of natural effect, he afterwards retained. He added no dignity of forms; owing to which his few altar-pieces and other serious subjects obtained him no reputation. Applying himself subsequently to Flemish composition, he represented women intent on domestic affairs, boys' schools, mendicants begging alms, with similar popular objects, copied faithfully from life; in all which he abounded with commissions. At Bologna such familiar pieces by him and his able pupil Gherardini are very common, and please by their spirit and their exactness. Sometimes he represented also serious subjects, as in that picture in Casa Ranuzzi, exhibiting the coronation of Charles V. during the government of a Gonfalonier of the family.

Zanotti is well known among the writers on pictoric subjects; and few have been more successful in wielding with equal excellence both pencil and pen. His "Directions for the Progress of young Artists" contain some learned maxims, which were meant to stem the corruption of the [Pg 236]art, by rescuing it from a low mechanical manner, and replacing it upon its true principles. Upon the same maxims he composed his "History of the Clementine Academy," although he was not enabled to adopt corresponding freedom of style; having there written the lives of the academicians, then lately deceased, or still alive. This work, printed by Lelio dalla Volpe, in 1739, with a splendor nearly unknown, up to that period, in Italy, excited some degree of indignation in good artists, who found, next their own, many names of mere mediocrity distinguished by portraits and lives, on a footing with themselves. The complaints raised by Spagnuolo, are recorded by the Canon Crespi in his Felsina, (p. 227, &c.). Other accusations were doubtless advanced against him by inferior parties, who, though commended beyond their merits, secretly, perhaps, believed themselves deserving of still higher praise. Zanotti, too, inserted notices relating to himself, who held in that assembly the offices of president and of secretary, for a much longer period. But domestic and literary matters combined, withdrew his attention from painting in his maturer years; whence we may date his more feeble performances, which convey no great idea of him. Before, however, he had conducted works which exempted him from the pictoric crowd; in which list we may include his grand picture of an Embassy from the People of Romagna to the Bolognese, which ornaments the public palace. In private houses, too, are other [Pg 237]compositions, either historical or mythological, composed in excellent taste, one of which is in possession of the Signore Biancani Tazzi, a piece greatly admired by Algarotti, as a perfect model of refined taste. A similar graceful little picture of a Cupid and nymphs, which I saw at Signor Volpi's, displays much poetical imagination, this artist delighting in poetical composition, very different from Lomazzo's and Boschini's, to an extreme old age.[50]

From Zanotti, who was an excellent master, Ercole Lelli acquired his knowledge of design. His extraordinary genius, his anatomical preparations in wax, made by himself and Manzolini for the institution, and his great influence in the instruction of young artists, in the three branches of the fine arts, acquired him great reputation in Italy. At the same time, it is known that he lectured much better than he painted; the art requiring, like a knowledge of languages, close and persevering application, such as Lelli could not command. One of his altar-pieces is reported in the Bolognese Guide; and standing in need of defence, it was truly stated, that it was among his earliest pieces. In the Guide to Piacenza, another, his S. Fedele, at the Cappuccini, is also noticed; though it is added, with more candour, that his highest merit did not consist in painting.

Gio. Viani was fellow-pupil to Pasinelli in the school of Torre; but it is only a conjecture that he was also his assistant. He was a learned painter, [Pg 238]not inferior in design to any contemporary of the same school; and added to his powers by assiduous drawing from the living model in the academy, and the study of anatomy, until the close of his career. To such knowledge he united elegance in his forms, softness of colouring, engaging attitudes, lightness of drapery, studying much from life, and giving it an air of grace, in the manner of Torre, or of Guido. That exquisite picture of St. John di Dio, at the hospital of the Buonfratelli, is such a specimen of his art. In the portico of the Servi he represented, in a lunette, S. Filippo Benizi, borne up to heaven by two angels; a figure which, both in countenance and action, breathes an expression of beatitude, conspicuous, even at the side of another history, by Cignani. In other lunettes of the same portico he does not excite equal admiration, and gives us an idea of an artist able to compete with the best masters, but obliged to work with a much larger share of study than they were accustomed to bestow.

Viani opened school opposite that of Cignani, and taught to some extent; in which he was succeeded by his son Domenico, whose life was written by Guidalotti, who, in point of merit, prefers him to his father. Few will subscribe to this opinion, he not having attained to that exactness, much less to that dignity of design, exhibited by his father; and inferior to him in the nature, truth, and clearness of his colouring. Still he possessed a grander character in his outline, a stronger execution, [Pg 239]like Guercino's, more splendid ornaments, like the Venetians, whom he assiduously studied in their own capital. There is his St. Antony, at S. Spirito, in Bergamo, in the act of convincing a sceptic by a miracle; a surprising picture, extolled by Rotari and Tiepolo, and perhaps the best work which he left at Bologna. At the same place is his Jove, painted on copper, for the Casa Ratta, besides other works in private houses, to which he chiefly devoted himself.

His fellow-pupils in the paternal school were four Clementine academicians, whose altar-pieces we find mentioned among the "Paintings of Bologna." These were Gian Girolamo Bonesi, who renounced both the name and style of Viani, in order to follow Cignani, and complained of being included in Viani's school. However this might be, his pictures pleased, by adding to the beautiful a peculiar delicacy and sweetness that characterize him. Carlo Rambaldi, imitating both the Viani, was not the less employed by Bonesi; and pictures of both are met with, especially half-length figures, in select galleries at Bologna, and a few historical pieces in the royal collection at Turin. Antonio Dardani possessed more universal talent than either of the preceding, but was not equally refined. Pietro Cavazzi was a fine connoisseur in prints, and only on this account was celebrated in Italy and abroad. Tronchi, Pancaldi, Montanari, with others, not admitted into the Clementine academy, may be found mentioned in Crespi. No one, [Pg 240]I imagine, would desire an account of the under graduates, when the academicians who enjoyed the first rank, were many of them, according to Zanotti, only artists of mediocrity.

From the school of Cignani, to which I now proceed, scarcely any disciple issued who ultimately adhered to his style. A master, whose maxim it was to labour every picture, as if his entire reputation depended on it; who preferred to cancel, rather than retouch his less successful pieces, might, perhaps, have scholars, but not many emulators. Two of his family, however, imitated him; Count Felice his son, who long assisted him, particularly in the Cupola at Forli; and the Count Paolo his grandson, whom he, perhaps, instructed in the outset; while his father indisputably employed him at Forli, and Mancini at Rome. Both were gifted with facility of genius; but being sufficiently wealthy, they only devoted themselves to the art for the sake of the pleasure it afforded. Felice is seldom mentioned in the Guide to Bologna; in which, however, his St. Antony, at the Carità, meets with praise. At Forli is the altar-piece of St. Philip, by some ascribed to him, and by others to Count Carlo, in his declining years; so inferior is it to the best style of that artist. In collections his paintings are not rare; though appearing, like a young boy in the presence of his father. Of Count Paolo's I only recollect a single altar-piece at Savignano, representing St. Francis in the act of appearing to St. Joseph da Copertino, and putting [Pg 241]a demon to flight. The scene appears illuminated by torch-light, and has a fine effect; and the figures, in regard to their studied and finished manner, display the taste of his grandfather.

After the relatives of Carlo comes Emilio Taruffi, his fellow-pupil with Albani, as well as his assistant, first at Bologna, in decorating the public hall, and next at Rome, where he resided three years, sometimes employed at S. Andrea della Valle, at others for private houses. No artist then better conformed to Cignani's style; and Taruffi could at least second him in painting histories. But his genius lay more in minor compositions. He was an excellent copyist of any ancient manner; a portrait painter of great spirit, and, in landscape, one of the best pupils formed by Albani. In these three branches he obtained his usual commissions, which he ever discharged with credit. He also conducted some altar-pieces, and that of S. Pier Celestino, at the church of that name, yields to few of the same period.

Cignani's most distinguished pupils and heads of new schools were Franceschini and Crespi. The Cav. Marcantonio Franceschini left the school of Gio. Batista Galli for that of Cignani, and became his most effective assistant and intimate friend. This friendship was cemented by his union with Cignani's cousin, sister of Quaini, whom I shall shortly again mention. Some productions of Franceschini might be taken for Cignani's himself; but these were among his earliest, before he had [Pg 242]formed his characteristic manner. He remained with his friend many years, and possessing peculiar gracefulness of design, Cignani availed himself of it to draw from life the individual portions of his compositions, engaging him to consult various models, in order to select the best forms from each. By this study of nature, in which he persevered, and by copying from the designs and under the eye of his master, he attained much of the taste, the nice selectness, and the grandeur of Cignani. To these he added a certain grace of colouring, and a facility which gave a novel character to his productions; besides an originality, equal to any other artist, in the form of his heads, in his attitudes, and in the costume of his figures. His freshness, his harmony, his just equilibrium of full and retreating parts; in short, his whole style presents a glowing spectacle never before seen. If we trace in his works, especially on an extended scale, a degree of mannerism, it may almost be excused: would that his disciples had restrained themselves within the same limits! But easy roads to painting are like walking on a declivity, where it is difficult to count one's steps, or restrain one's motions. Franceschini seemed born to execute works on a large scale, fertile in ideas, and with facility to dispose them in every point of view, and to colour them at any distance. He was accustomed to compose his cartoons in chiaroscuro, and, having fixed them in the intended spot, to judge of the success of his proposed work; [Pg 243]a method it would be desirable to inculcate and adopt more generally.

His large fresco paintings are numerous; the recess in the Ranuzzi palace, the cupola and ceiling in the church of Corpus Domini, the tribune of S. Bartolommeo at Bologna. Among those in other states we shall mention only the corbels of the cupola, with three histories, in the cathedral of Piacenza, and the grand ceiling of the Hall of Public Counsel at Genoa. This painting, of which it is enough to state that Mengs devoted many hours in examining it in detail, the noblest of Franceschini's performances, perished by fire, without a single engraving having been taken to commemorate its grandeur of conception. The same fertility of ideas and attraction of style are conspicuous in his grand histories, dispersed among the first galleries of Europe, and in his no less copious altar-pieces. Such is the S. Tommaso da Villanova, in the act of dispensing alms, placed at the Agostiniani di Rimini; a picture truly imposing by its magnificent workmanship, and which surprises by the beauty of its figures. What is equally surprising, the Cavalier Franceschini, when nearly an octogenarian, displayed pictorial powers equal to his best days; as we gather from his Pietà, at the Agostiniani of Imola, and his BB. Fondatori, at the Serviti in Bologna, which betray no traces of decline. This artist rejected the most advantageous offers from courts, which all vied in soliciting his services. Giordano even was not invited [Pg 244]to that of Madrid, until the situation had been refused by Franceschini. He chose to reside in Upper Italy, there assuming the same rank, as head of his school, with almost the same success as Cortona in Lower Italy. Both schools adhered much to the Caracci's style, and in some measure rendered it more popular; and hence, those who at Rome are not familiar with the features and contrasts characteristic of Cortona's sect, would easily confound them with the more modern artists of Bologna.

Luigi Quaini, cousin to Carlo Cignani, and brother-in-law to Franceschini, was one of the most animated characters of his time; equally well versed in history, in architecture, and in poetry. The pupil, first of Guercino, next of Cignani, he was employed by the last as an assistant, and with such success, that, in painting, his hand could not be distinguished from that of his master. In distributing their labours to Franceschini and to Quaini, he ordered the former to paint the fleshes for the roundness and softness he gave to them; while to the latter he committed certain gay and spirited countenances, and a certain finishing of parts, in which, from his peculiar talent, he admirably succeeded. Later in life, he united with Franceschini, and leaving to him the inventive parts, he followed him in the style of the figures; inferior, doubtless, to that of Cignani, in force of chiaroscuro and colouring, but more attractive from its peculiar beauty and felicity. He [Pg 245]would, afterwards, wholly ornament the composition by himself, with flowers, armour, beautiful landscape, and noble perspective; an art acquired from Francesco, his own father, a fine pupil of Mitelli. In this way did these two artists continue to paint, conjointly, at Bologna, at Modena, Piacenza, Genoa, and Rome; at which last place they composed some cartoons for the cupola of St. Peter's, which were afterwards executed in mosaic. Quaini also painted many historical pictures of his own invention. They decorate private houses; his only composition in public being his St. Nicholas visited in prison by our Lady, a beautiful altar-piece, occupying the best place in the church of that name.

Marcantonio's school, from which he also derived those assistants who followed Quaini, dates its commencement from his son, the Canon Jacopo Franceschini. The Bolognese historians only represent him in the character of an honorary academician; so that, by their account, I ought here to omit him. The Cav. Ratti, however, informs us that Marcantonio, coming to Genoa to adorn the church of S. Filippo, brought with him his son as his assistant, together with Giacomo Boni. In the same city, too, I saw a large history, in the hall of the Marchese Durazzo, as well as other pieces by him, well worthy commendation. At Bologna, also, are several paintings in public, all conducted in the style, and with the assistance of his father.

[Pg 246]Boni was employed by Franceschini in many of his works, more particularly in that at Rome. He had been pupil also to Cignani, along with a few more, to be mentioned in the same school; under whose care he chiefly had in view works of a more difficult cast. Such was the ceiling of S. Maria della Costa, at S. Remo, and of S. Pier Celestino, at Bologna; besides several paintings at Genoa, where he became established. Two of his pictures, at the church of the Magdalen, met with great applause; namely, a Preaching at Gethsemane, and a Pietà. He more particularly distinguished himself in fresco; and in a chamber of his Excel. Pallavicini is an infant Jove, in the act of receiving nutriment from a goat, executed in the most elegant style. He was much employed in that capital, where, says Crespi, "there is neither palace, nor church, nor monastery, nor house, in which his works are not met with; all striking and commendable." Nor did he produce little at Brescia, at Parma, and at Remo; besides being honoured with commissions from Prince Eugene of Savoy, and the King of Spain, for whose chapel he forwarded an altar-piece. This artist sometimes betrays the haste of a mere mechanist, not completing fully, or polishing his work; besides colouring with a degree of lightness of hand which easily yields to age. Yet he always retains a delicacy and a precision in his contours, with a certain open spirit and joyousness which delight the eye.

Antonio Rossi never conducted works on so [Pg 247]large a scale as Boni, but he surpassed him in diligence; which induced his master, when entrusting commissions to his pupils, to prefer him to any other. He exercised himself in painting pictures for churches, and greatly added to his reputation by his Martyrdom of S. Andrea, placed at S. Domenico. He was much occupied, also, with architectural pictures and landscape, to which he added small figures, so well adapted as to appear by the same hand. On this account he was an artist much liked by the artificers of similar representations, particularly by Orlandi and Brizzi. Girolamo Gatti was less employed for churches than Rossi, but is distinguished for small figure pieces, with one of which he decorated the hall of the Anziani. It exhibited the coronation of Charles V. in S. Petronio, and shewed the artist to be as good a figurist as a painter of perspective. Although educated by Franceschini, as we learn from the new Guide, he did not imitate his colouring: this he sought to attain from Cignani. Giuseppe Pedretti long resided in Poland; and on his return to Bologna executed a number of works in a good style. Giacinto Garofolini, a pupil and kinsman of Marcantonio, displayed very middling ability when employed alone; but in conjunction with his relative, and with Boni, he conducted various works in fresco, from which he is entitled to what reputation he obtained. To these Bolognese artists and academicians various foreigners might be added, as one Gaetano Frattini, known at Ravenna [Pg 248]by some altar-pieces at the Corpus Domini, and a few others whom we have referred to different schools. We shall now return to that of Cignani.

Giuseppe Maria Crespi, whom for his neatness of attire his fellow pupils surnamed Lo Spagnuolo, was instructed first by Canuti, next by Cignani; being early grounded in the best principles of taste. With unwearied assiduity he copied the Caracci paintings at Bologna; and at his leisure studied those of the first Venetians in that capital. He examined, too, Coreggio's at Modena and Parma, and long sojourned in Urbino and Pesaro to consult the works of Baroccio. Some of these he copied, and sold at Bologna for the originals. His object invariably was, to form a new manner out of many others, which he accomplished; at some times Baroccio would be his most admired model; at another, when he wished to employ more shade, he chose Guercino; nor did he dislike Cortona in respect to taste of composition. To the examples, too, of the dead, he added the observation of the living; and was averse, if we may credit his son, to the labours of a mere mechanist. He drew every thing from nature, and even had a camera optica in his house, from which he copied the objects that offered themselves to view, and remarked the various play and picturesque reflections of the vivid light. His compositions, indeed, teem with these novelties, and his shortenings also are as singular; so that he often places a number of figures in a small space, while the conceptions [Pg 249]which he interweaves in his pictures, are more peculiarly fanciful.

This turn for novelty at length led his fine genius astray; insomuch that Mengs is brought to lament that the Bolognese School should approach its close in the capricious Crespi, (vol. ii. p. 124). In his heroic pieces, and even in scriptural subjects, he left room occasionally for caricature. Wishing to exhibit novelty in his shadows and in his draperies he fell into mannerism; and varying his first method of colouring similar to the old painters, he adopted another more lucrative but less excellent. It consists of few colours, selected chiefly for effect, and very common and oily; gums applied by him to colouring, as other artists use them for a veil, or varnish; few strokes, employed indeed with judgment, but too superficial and without strength or body. Such was the method which we see pursued in so many of his pictures; or to speak more correctly, which are no longer to be seen, the tints having decayed or disappeared, so as to require them to be newly copied by another hand. His son did not attempt to conceal this fault, though he wished to excuse it. The reader may peruse the defence in his Felsina Pittrice, p. 225; and should he feel convinced by it, with similar benignity he may apologize for Piazzetta, who acquired his method of colouring from Crespi; with others who more or less pursued the same practice, at this period extinct.

As a specimen of his more solid style, the picture [Pg 250]of the BB. Fondatori, at the church of the Servi, appears to much advantage; our Lord's Supper, also, in Casa Sampieri; a few pieces in the royal Pitti palace, where he was long employed by the great Prince Ferdinando; besides a few other of his first productions. In his other style are various pictures conducted for the galleries of the Roman nobility; the SS. Paolo and Antonio as eremites, for the Princes Albani; the Magdalen for the Chigi palace; the Seven Sacraments for the Card. Ottoboni, of which I have seen copies in the Albani palace at Urbino. The whole of these seven pictures display certain bold coruscations and contrasts which dazzle the eye; all shew novelty of idea; in particular that of the Spousals between a young girl and an octogenarian, to the visible mirth of the spectators. Spagnuolo lived to advanced age, honoured by the pope with the insignia of cavaliere, esteemed among the first of his age, while his paintings everywhere abounded. Different houses, both in and beyond Bologna, possess them in great number; histories, fables, and familiar pieces. He received most part of his commissions from the Signori Belloni, who decorated various chambers with his historical pieces, remunerating him with one hundred crowns each, though they contained but few figures, and all of an ell's length.

Spagnuolo's manner was not one that could be pursued by every pupil with applause. Those artists who were unable to direct it with equal imagination, [Pg 251]power of design, spirit and facility, produced very trifling results. Even his own sons, D. Luigi the canon, and Antonio, who painted for various churches, did not wholly follow their father's style, but appear invariably more studied. The canon wrote much upon the art, as the lives of the Bolognese artists, or the third volume of the Felsina Pittrice, edited in 1769; notices of the painters of Ferrara and Romagna, still unpublished; various treatises; with numerous letters inserted by Bottari in the pictoric collection. To few of his age is the history of painting so much indebted, although in certain national subjects he failed to satisfy the whole of his fellow citizens. The authors of the new Guide of Bologna require from him more diligence in examining documents; greater fidelity as a public instructor; more justice to the real merit of Ercole Lelli. The four dialogues in defence of his Felsina Pittrice, written by a friend, were published by Bottari in the seventh volume of the work just cited, and are worth perusal. In the same volume ((p. 143) we also meet with a letter of Crespi, in which he confesses his different errors, declaring that he would correct them in the fourth volume of his Felsina, which he was then composing, and which I am uncertain whether he ever completed. From these notices we gather, that, notwithstanding his violent temper, he was not wanting in fidelity as an historian, and in that readiness to retract his own errors, without which none can pretend [Pg 252]to maintain the true literary or historical character.

For the rest, he must have afforded occasion for those clamours against his Felsina and other writings by some satirical strokes, which are assuredly severe, accompanied by many personal reflections on his contemporaries. Concerning that very respectable academy he relates some observations of his deceased father, which had better have been consigned to oblivion. He disapproves the methods introduced into his school, and laments, that owing to the failure of good masters, Bologna was no longer frequented as formerly by students. He detects, too, certain little impositions introduced into the art; such for instance as displaying in the studio a number of pictures prepared for colouring, to convey an idea of possessing abundance of commissions; pronouncing in a breath a number of anatomical terms on the bones and muscles, to inspire a high opinion of the artist's learning; publishing eulogiums on some particular painting in an article of the day, which only the artist himself could have conceived, and written, paid for, and believed to be true. Such, or similar details, which must have sufficed to recognize particular individuals, doubtless provoked many replies from persons not publicly known, as the author gave no contemporary names, but deeply offended and provoked to retaliate upon him.

Among the pupils of Crespi was Gionima, who [Pg 253]survived only, as I have stated, to his thirty-fifth year. Nor did Cristoforo Terzi reach a much more advanced age, the pupil also of different masters. From his outset he boasted a decision of hand, able to sketch at few strokes very spirited heads, which, however, by dint of excessive retouching, he deprived of much of their expression. This defect he remedied under Crespi, and improved himself by residing several years at Rome. Many collections at Bologna possess some of his half-length figures and heads of old men, which are mistaken by less experienced judges for those of Lana. In the list of Crespi's pupils, too, are Giacomo Pavia of Bologna, who flourished in Spain; Gio. Morini d'Imola; Pier Guarienti, a Veronese, who flourished at Venice, and was afterwards appointed director of the Dresden gallery; and the same who wrote the additions to Orlandi's dictionary. Francesco l'Ange of Savoy, a pupil of Crespi, became a Philippine monk at Bologna. His chief merit lay in small scriptural pictures, some of which I saw in Vercelli, in possession of his Eminence Martiniana, bearing the author's name, and quite deserving, by their design and colouring, of a place in that collection.

Besides Franceschini and Crespi, many others were educated by Cignani. Their names have been given by Zannelli, who published their lives; a book I have vainly endeavoured to obtain while engaged in writing the present work. By Crespi [Pg 254]we have an account of some pupils whom he instructed in perspective and landscape, as well as in flowers; this skilful preceptor being accustomed to ascertain the young artists' talents, and confine them to the inferior, when not competent to the higher branches of art, and even to direct them to other professions when unequal to these. Such pupils as he retained, ought not, then, to be lightly contemned, although little celebrated, either because they died young, were dispersed abroad, or obscured by brighter names. Among such are Baldassare Bigatti, Domenico Galeazzi, Pietro Minelli, known in history by a few altar-pieces. Matteo Zamboni died young, leaving in some private houses a few specimens of his works, as much in Cignani's style as those of any artist. I am uncertain what public works he conducted in Bologna; but he acquitted himself well, for his age, in two histories at S. Niccolo in Rimini; the one representing St. Benedict, the other S. Pier Celestino. Antonio Castellani is included by Guarienti in the school of Cignani, though I think by mistake, as he belongs to that of the Caracci. Not so Giulio Benzi, also mentioned in the Guide of Bologna, and to be distinguished from the Genoese of that name. I may observe the same of Guido Signorini, recorded by Crespi, and not to be confounded with another Guido Signorini, heir to Guido Reni. So far of the artists of Bologna.

[Pg 255]Federigo Bencovich was a foreigner of a Dalmatian family, and I give his name as he himself wrote it.[51] In the Dictionaries it is spelt Boncorich and Bendonich; and by Zannelli, Benconich; so that foreigners may be well excused for often mistaking the names of Italian painters. Federigo, commonly called in his own time, Federighetto, acquired more of Cignani's solidity than amenity of style; correct in his design, strong in his execution, and well informed in the best principles of his art. Some of his altar-pieces are at Milan, Bologna, and Venice; though most of his productions adorn collections, even in Germany, where he resided many years. In that of the Signori Vianelli of Chioggia, mention is made of his S. Jacopo Sedente; and in another collection, of Count Algarotti, at Venice, his landscape, with a village girl, to which Piazzetta added another figure. Occasionally, his manner is somewhat too much loaded with shadows, but by no means to be pronounced contemptible, as asserted by Zanetti, (p. 450) in opposition to the opinion of Guarienti.

Girolamo Donnini also resided out of his country; born at Coreggio, he lived at Bologna; and [Pg 256]being inclined to that school, was first treated of by Crespi, next by Tiraboschi. He had studied under Stringa at Modena, and under Giangioseffo dal Sole at Bologna. Thence he went to Forli, at the instigation of Cignani, not so much to become a machinist and a painter in fresco, as in order to treat less difficult subjects in oil. His chief merit lay in painting for private ornament, and Orlandi, then living, bore testimony that his pictures were held in high request for the decoration of houses. He excelled also on a larger scale; one of his altar-pieces of S. Antonio, at the Filippini in Bologna, being conducted in a very masterly style; as well as others, dispersed about Romagna, at Turin, in his native place, and elsewhere, the manner of which, as is remarked by Crespi, clearly displays the hand of Cignani's disciple. A favourite pupil of Donnini, and whom he assisted in a variety of circumstances, was Francesco Boni, termed also il Gobbino[52] de' Sinibaldi, from being in the service of those lords. He was from Faenza, and left several good pictures in his native place; among others, a S. Teresa, with S. Gio. della Croce, at the Carmelitani; a Noli me tangere, and the Meeting of S. Domenico and S. Francesco, in the church which formerly belonged to the Domenicans. Pietro Donzelli, of Mantua, placed an altar-piece in the cathedral of Pescia, in which he represented S. Carlo administering [Pg 257]to the sick of the plague, displaying the style of a pupil of Cignani; and this constitutes all the information I could obtain respecting him.

The other foreign pupils of the Cav. Carlo, who diffused his manner through the Italian schools, are commemorated in the places where they flourished; as Lamberti, for instance, at Rome, and Parolini at Ferrara. Here I shall add a brief sketch of the artists of Romagna, whom I unite to those of Bologna. Antonio Santi was an Ariminese, whose school only is mentioned by Crespi; but in the Guide of Rimini, where a few of his works remain, he is extolled as one of its best pupils, though he died young. The same Guide makes mention of some paintings in oil and fresco, particularly in the church of the Angioli, attributed to Angiolo Sarzetti, pupil to Cignani; from whom, also, he obtained a design for an altar-piece at S. Colomba. Innocenzio Monti is included by Crespi among the Bolognese, and by Orlandi among the painters of Imola, where he left some works. One, of the Circumcision of our Lord, at the Gesù of Mirandola, executed in 1690, is extolled in a little book of poems. He was more industrious than ingenious, and more successful in Germany and in Poland than in Italy. Gioseffo Maria Bartolini, also of Imola, is esteemed, in his native place, for a Miracle of S. Biagio, and for other works at S. Domenico, and in other churches. He was employed a good deal at Imola, where he opened school, and throughout Romagna; an artist of [Pg 258]great facility, and partaking, in some degree, of the manner of Pasinelli, his first master.

The artists of Forli, among whom Cignani lived during some years, are not a few. Filippo Pasquali was colleague to Franceschini, whose grand altar-piece at Rimini he surrounded with a very pleasing ornament. Some of his earliest efforts are met with in Bologna, at the portico of the Serviti; but not equal to the altar-piece in the church of S. Vittore at Ravenna, which he painted at a more advanced age, and which does him great credit. Andrea and Francesco Bondi, two brothers, are recorded by Guarienti; though, in the Guides of Pesaro and Ravenna only one is alluded to, whose name is not given; and what pieces I saw at Forli itself would seem to have proceeded from one hand; such as the chapel of S. Antonio, at the Carmelites, the Crucifixion at S. Filippo, besides others. He boasts the fine execution of Cignani; but the forms and expressions are not equally select. Among other artists of Forli, instructed by Cignani, was the priest Sebastiano Savorelli, employed in some church paintings even in the adjacent cities. To him we may add Mauro Malducci, and Francesco Fiorentini, both priests, too, of Forli; of all of whom there is found some account in the life of Cignani.

Under the Roman School we treated of Francesco Mancini, from S. Angelo in Vado, who, along with Agostino Castellacci, from Pesaro, was instructed by Cignani; both nearly contiguous [Pg 259]to Romagna, but of unequal powers. Agostino is little known, even in his own state; but Mancini was celebrated throughout Lower, as much as Franceschini in Upper Italy; and he also educated several artists for the countries adjacent to Romagna. Sebastian Ceccarini was Mancini's pupil, born at Urbino, and often mentioned in the Guide of Rome, where, in the time of Clement XII., he painted the altar-piece for the Swiss chapel at the Quirinal. He is more known, however, at Fano, where he was established, and long continued to live, with a handsome salary from that city. There he appears an artist of various styles, who would have shone little inferior to his master, had he always adhered to his best manner. His S. Lucia, at the Agostiniani, and different sacred histories, in the public palace at Fano, display many fine imitations, strong chiaroscuro, and well-varied tints.

The Canon Gio. Andrea Lazzarini, from Pesaro, also acquired his knowledge from Mancini. He was both a good poet and prose writer, and truly well informed in sacred and profane literature. Few Italian writers can compare with him in treating pictoric subjects. His "Account of the Paintings in the Cathedral at Osimo,"[53] and particularly, [Pg 260]his "Catalogue of the Pictures in the Churches at Pesaro," cited by us elsewhere, afford ample proofs of his superiority, no less than those brief "Observations" on the best works there met with, and that very full "Dissertation upon the Art of Painting," that has been often republished. It relates wholly to the branch of "invention;" and he has other unedited works of equal merit, on "Composition," on "Design," on "Colouring," and on "Costume," which were read in the academy of Pesaro, as early as 1753. These embrace a true course of painting, an art which he taught gratuitously in his native place.[54] Count Algarotti, in drawing up his Essay on Painting, both read and profited by them, as I heard, at least, from Lazzarini; and as the Count, indeed, candidly himself confessed, in a letter which he forwarded to him with the work. He also evinced his high regard for his pictoric talents, by giving him a commission for two paintings to adorn his select gallery, which were afterwards inserted in the catalogue. The subjects consist of Cincinnatus called to the Dictatorship, and Archimedes absorbed in his scientific studies, during the storming [Pg 261]of Syracuse. These two histories are well executed, inasmuch as Lazzarini was perfectly master of good painting, as well as good writing; easy, yet always studied in every part; at once noble and graceful, with depth of learning to throw an air of antiquity round his productions, but, at the same time, free from all affectation and parade. His first colouring was of a strong character, as appears from a Pietà, at the hospital of Pesaro, conducted, I believe, after having studied the Venetian and the Lombard Schools, in the course of a pictoric tour. Subsequently, he imbibed a certain sweetness, which I may call more like Maratta's, in which his rivals discover a want of vigour. Though he enjoyed long life, he did not leave many works, as he applied himself with assiduity to his clerical duties. Frequently he had occasion to paint for private families, and succeeded admirably in his Madonnas; one of which, seen weeping, in the Varani collection at Ferrara, is among his most studied pieces. His native place possesses three altar-pieces at the Magdalen, three at S. Caterina, others in different churches, and in general upon a small scale. But his genius is more clearly apparent in some larger pictures, which are to be seen in the cathedrals of Osimo and of Foligno; at S. Agostino, of Ancona; and the two at S. Domenico, in Fano. One of these contains various saints of the order, placed around the Virgin, whose portraits, positions, and action, exhibit singular variety and grace. The other represents [Pg 262]S. Vincenzio, seen in the act of healing the sick, before the people assembled by sound of bell; nor is it easy, in this immense throng, to find any one figure resembling another, or superfluous, or less happy in expressing what it ought. But the work in which he appears, as I have been informed, to surpass himself, adorns the chapel of the Counts Fantuzzi, in Gualdo, a diocese of Rimini. He had spent several years at Rome, at the house of Monsig. Gaetano, afterwards Cardinal Fantuzzi; for whom he made that fine collection of pictures, from each school, which afterwards went to his heirs, one of whom, Count Marco, is well known to the public by his "Monuments of Ravenna," edited and illustrated in several volumes, with much research and erudition; and to whose courtesy I owe much of my information respecting Lazzarini. In this collection are several of the canon's paintings, of various kinds; landscape, a branch in which he appears to perfection; instruments and books of music, porcelain, and fruits that deceive the eye; and, in particular, two pictures, on imperial canvass, one exhibiting the Baptism of Christ; the other, the Flight out of Egypt; where, in the Egyptian plants and monuments we seem to recognize that ancient land itself. Still the altar-piece at Gualdo shews a greater degree of originality, as he here displayed his utmost care in imitating Raffaello, whom he had accurately studied, so as to derive from his forms and composition all that could go to adorn a picture of [Pg 263]the Virgin and Holy Child, seen between St. Catherine the martyr, and the B. Marco Fantuzzi, a Franciscan, who will, perhaps, obtain the honours of a solemn canonization. The place is decorated with architecture, the pavement variegated with marbles of different colours. The Holy Child, placed with the Divine Mother, upon a pedestal, is seen putting a crown on St. Catherine's head; while the Mother holds another in her hand, in order that the B. Marco may be crowned by her in his turn. Two angels form the train, one of whom points to the wheel, a symbol used by the saint, and indeed touches with his finger a sharp point, the better to give an idea of the sufferings of her martyrdom. The other is an Angel of the Apocalypse, with book and sword; a figure well suited to the last judgment, whose terrors the B. Marco inculcated in his sermons. There are two other beautiful cherubs, which add to the interest; one standing near St. Catherine, holds a roll of Egyptian papyrus, with some Coptic characters, in which were described the acts of her passion; while his companion points the attention of the spectator to a maxim continually repeated by the B. Marco, "Nolite diligere mundum," inscribed upon marble. How widely different, in point of invention, appears an artist versed in literature, and one with no taste for letters! This, however, is not the whole merit of such a painting: the saint and one of the angels are truly Raffaellesque figures; the Beato in extasy, brings to mind the B. Michelina [Pg 264]of Baroccio; the other figures are all exceedingly well studied, and seem intended to display the artist's refined gratitude towards his patrons.

The best professors that Romagna could boast at this period have already been recounted in different Bolognese Schools; for which reason, without treating them separately, I shall proceed to the painters of landscape. Among these, excelling as well in drawing as in figuring, Orlandi gives us the name of Maria Elena Panzacchi, instructed in the art by Taruffi; but her landscapes are now little known, even in Bologna; and Crespi has indicated not more than two. Those of Paolo Alboni, her contemporary, are recognized in Naples and Rome itself, and in Germany, where he passed many years. Those which are seen in the Pepoli palace, at the March. Fabri's, and in other noble galleries, might be mistaken, according to Crespi, for the productions of Holland or Flanders, on whose models he was almost incessantly employed. Angiol Monticelli formed a style under Franceschini and the younger Viani, which the same biographer highly extols. No artist, at this period, better knew how to dispose his colours; none tinged his leaves, his earths, his buildings, and his figures, with more nature and variety. But he was cut short in mid-career: he became blind when his talents were in their perfection.

Nunzio Ferraiuoli, called also Degli Afflitti, was born at Nocera de' Pagani, not a Bolognese. From the studio of Giordano, he went to that of [Pg 265]Giuseppe dal Sole, in Bologna, in which city he was established. He incessantly employed himself in taking rural views, both in oil and fresco, and succeeded to admiration, equal, says P. Orlandi, to Claude and Poussin; an opinion to be attributed to the friendship subsisting between them. He had a mixed style, half foreign and half Albanesque, if we except his colouring, which is not so natural. Cavazzone provided him with two pupils, who, urged by their own genius, assisted by Ferraiuoli, became tolerably good landscape painters; namely, Carlo Lodi and Bernardo Minozzi. The first was an excellent disciple of his master; the second formed a manner peculiar to himself. Besides his ability in frescos, he was distinguished for his landscape in water-colours, which he illuminated on pasteboard, and it met with much admiration both at home and abroad. Gaetano Cittadini, nephew to Pier Francesco, excelled in the same manner, his rural views displaying singular taste, fine effect of the lights, and spirited figures. I have met with them throughout Romagna, as well as in Bologna. In Romagna, however, Marco Sanmartino, a Neapolitan, or Venetian, is more generally met with; and, in particular, at Rimini, where he some time fixed his residence. His pieces are ornamented with beautiful little figures, in which he excelled. He also attempted more extensive works, such as the Baptism of Constantine, in the cathedral of Rimini, and the Saint preaching in the Desert,[TN11] in the college of S. Vincenzio, at Venice; [Pg 266]though there, too, he is distinguished by his landscape, which formed, indeed, his profession. In the Guide of Rimini, he is named Sammartino, as well as by Zanetti and Guarienti. This last declares that he remained at Venice most part of his life; and, in the next article, gives the name of one Marco Sanmarchi, a Venetian, both a landscape and a figure painter, on a small scale, much extolled by Malvasia, and flourishing about the time of Sammartino. On the authority of Melchiori, who names him Sammartino, or Sanmarchi, I believe that these two landscape-painters of Guarienti resolve themselves into one; and that the mistake arose from the resemblance of the two names, by which one and the same person was popularly known; as we have had occasion to observe in other instances. Moreover, what could be the reason that this Sanmarchi, a Venetian, is not known in Venice itself, but only in Bologna, where it does not appear that he ever had a permanent abode?

The elder Cittadini, who excelled in flowers, and fruits, and animals, is commended in the preceding epoch. In the present, we shall make mention of his three sons, Carlo, Gio. Bastista, and Angiol Michele, who, however able in figures, at least the two first, are known to have assisted their father, and imitated him in the subjects most familiar to him; hence they were termed by Albano, syndic to the Bolognese professors,[55] the fruiterers and florists. From Carlo sprung Gaetano, the landscape [Pg 267]painter, and Gio. Girolamo, who down to our own days, though without attempting figures, excelled in painting different animals, fruits, and vases of flowers. But this family was successfully rivalled by Domenico Bettini, a Florentine professor in the same line; who, after remaining a long time at Modena, where we have mentioned him, came to establish himself at Bologna, towards the end of the sixteenth century. He had learnt design under Vignali, and next continued to improve himself in the school of Nuzzi, at Rome. He was among the first, says Orlandi, who dismissing those obscure and dismal grounds, painted more clear and openly; adding attractions to such paintings, by the invention of situations, and by the introduction of perspective: he was frequently invited to different Italian cities, to decorate halls and cabinets. But the favourite artist in this kind, of his day, was Candido Vitali, who, taught by Cignani, always attentive to the peculiarities of his pupils, made rapid progress in these attractive branches of the art. The freshness which appears in his flowers and fruits, the beauty of his quadrupeds and birds, are farther recommended by a taste of composition, and a delicacy of hand, which are prized both in Italy and abroad. Baimondo Manzini, a miniaturist rather than a painter, painted less in oil; but with such a degree of nature, that his animals, exhibited in cartoons, and placed by him in a certain light, have deceived even painters themselves; for which he has been extolled by Zanotti as a modern [Pg 268]Zeuxis. An assemblage of his fishes, birds, and flowers, is to be seen in the fine gallery of the Casa Ercolani.

At the same period the art was indebted to the judgment of Cignani for a good painter of battle-pieces in Antonio Calza, a Veronese, mentioned in the third volume; where it is observed that, being subsequently assisted by Borgognone, he became master of that branch of art at Bologna. Contemporary with him was another pupil of Cortese, who resided during several years in the same city, named Cornelio Verhuik, of Rotterdam. Besides his battle-pieces in his master's manner, displaying strong and vivid colouring, he painted in the Flemish style markets, fairs, and landscape, which he enlivened with small figures, like those of Callot. From Cignani also the Bolognese School received an excellent portrait painter in Sante Vandi, more commonly called Santino da' Ritratti. Few of his age were qualified to compete with him in point of talent, grace, and correctness in the characteristic features, particularly when drawn in small proportions, such as were calculated even to decorate boxes and rings. For these he had constant commissions, both from private persons and from princes, most of all from the Grand Duke Ferdinando of Tuscany, and Ferdinando, Duke of Mantua, who gave him a salary at his court, until his return to Bologna on the duke's death. But he remained there only a short time, being still invited to different cities, so that he educated no [Pg 269]pupils for his native place, and died abroad. With him, observes Crespi, "disappeared the manner of producing portraits at once so soft and powerful, combined with such natural expression."

Above every other branch of inferior painting, however, the ornamental and perspective then flourished at Bologna. This art, as we have stated, after the solid foundations on which it had been placed by Dentone and Mitelli, aimed too much at a pleasing and beautiful, without consulting a natural effect. But the school did not all at once deteriorate, being some time maintained by imitators of some of the most correct models. In this number Zanotti extols Jacopo Mannini, a most accurate artist, who decorated a chapel at Colorno for the Duke of Parma, in which the Cav. Draghi was employed as figurist, whose genius was at once as eager and rapid as Mannini's was slow. Much like two steeds of opposite temper yoked to the same vehicle, their sole occupation seemed that of biting and kicking each other; and it became necessary to separate them, the slow one being sent back to his native Bologna, where owing to this blemish he never met with any encouragement. Arrigo Haffner, a lieutenant, with Antonio his brother, who died a Philippine friar in Genoa, were also followers of Mitelli in delicacy and harmony of colour. They had been much employed at Rome under Canuti, their master in figures, and the former was chosen by Franceschini to paint the perspectives in the church of Corpus Domini. They produced also a good deal [Pg 270]at Genoa and its state, sometimes with one, sometimes with another of the more eminent figurists. Antonio acquired most reputation, superior perhaps in all but invention to his brother, particularly in the sweet union of his tints, as well as in the estimation of distinguished personages. He was called by the Grand Duke Gio. Gastone to Florence, to consult him respecting the altar of pietre dure, intended for the chapel of the Depositi at S. Lorenzo.

A still higher station in this profession was attained by Marcantonio Chiarini, an excellent architect as well as writer in that department. He had frequent invitations from Italian princes and lords, and even from Germany, where he painted along with Lanzani in the palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Many of his pictures, conducted in perspective for noble Bolognese families, still remain, and are held as models of a sound and true taste, imitating the ancient colouring and design, without giving admission to certain marbles, which appear like gems, but please only the inexperienced. From Chiarini's manner was derived that of Pietro Paltronieri, universally known under the name of the Mirandolese dalle prospettive. He was the Viviano of this latter age, and his architectural pieces on the ancient model are met with, not only in Bologna, where he resided, but in Rome, where he long continued, and in a number of other cities. They consist of arches, fountains, aqueducts, temples, ruins, tinged with a certain reddish colour, which serves to distinguish them [Pg 271]among many others. To these he adds skies, fields, and waters, which appear real; nor do they want appropriate figures, introduced by Graziani and other select young artists at Bologna. We must not confound Mirandolese with Perracini, also known in Bologna by the name of Mirandolese, who flourished at the same period, but with no sort of reputation beyond that of a tolerable figurist.

The school of Cignani increased that of the perspective painters. It first presented them with Tommaso Aldrovandini, nephew to Mauro; both of whom accompanied Cignani's figures in the public palace of Forli. Tommaso was employed with Cignani himself at Bologna and Parma. Conforming himself, under the eye of this celebrated master, to his best style, he so far succeeded, that the whole appears the work of Carlo alone, more especially in the chiaroscuro. His ornamental portion, too, is there conducted so that neither the precise extent of the light, nor of the shade, is apparent, but only an effect resulting from them, as we see it in nature. He executed the architectural ornaments in the grand hall of Genoa, painted, as we have said, by Franceschini; and he left other works in that capital. It was his invariable custom to modify his style, alternately soft or strong, in the manner of the figurist. He instructed in the art Pompeo, son of Mauro, and his cousin, who, after having displayed some specimens at Turin, Vienna, Dresden, and in many other foreign cities, resided, and died at Rome, with the reputation [Pg 272]of a very elegant artist. From the school of Pompeo sprung two ornamental painters, Gioseffo Orsoni, and Stefano Orlandi, who, in conjunction, painted some able frescos in various Italian cities, besides many theatrical pieces for the same places.

Whatever splendor of ornament may have been conferred upon the theatre by the Aldrovandini family, so greatly devoted to it; that of the Galli, in the present age, sprung from Gio. Maria, pupil to Albani, surnamed, from his country, Bibiena, has acquired still greater celebrity. By the same surname were distinguished Ferdinando and Francesco, his sons, with their posterity; nor has any pictoric family, either in this or any other age, advanced higher claims to public notice. There was hardly any court that invited not some of the Bibieni into its service; nor was any sphere more eligible for that family than the great courts, whose sovereign dignity was equalled by the elevation of their ideas, which only princely power could carry into execution. The festivals which they directed on the occasion of victories, of nuptials, or of royal entrances, were the most sumptuous that Europe ever witnessed. The genius of Ferdinando, formed for architecture, and for this reason wholly directed to it by Cignani, attained such excellence, that he was enabled to teach it, in a volume which he printed at Parma. He afterwards corrected some parts of it, in two little volumes published at Bologna; the one upon civil architecture, the other on the theory of perspective. Indeed, [Pg 273]his genius and works gave new form and character to the theatres. He was the real inventor of those magnificent scenes which we now witness, and of that rapid mechanic motion with which they are seen to move and change. He spent great part of his life in the Duke of Parma's service; a good deal at Milan, and at Vienna, in the court of Charles VI.; always more esteemed as an architect than as a painter. But here, too, he shone, not only in colouring scenes, and similar productions for public festivals; but in perspectives for palaces and temples, more particularly for the state of Parma. Francesco, less learned, but an equally prompt and elevated designer, pursued the same line, and extended it in different cities, being invited to Genoa, Naples, Mantua, Verona, and Rome, at which last he remained three years. He entered the service of the Emperors Leopold and Joseph, who changed his resolution of proceeding to England, and subsequently to Spain, where Philip V. had already declared him his architect. In different collections the perspective pieces of the two brothers appear; and they are occasionally enlivened with figures by the hand of Francesco, who acquired his knowledge from Pasinelli and Cignani, instances of which I have seen in different collections at Bologna.

Ferdinando had a numerous family, of whose members we shall mention Alessandro, Antonio, and Giuseppe; not because equal to their predecessors, but as being versed in the practice of [Pg 274]their manner, both in oil and fresco; and on this account eagerly sought after by the different courts of Europe. The first entered into the service of the Elector Palatine, in which he terminated his days. The second was much employed at Vienna and in Hungary. On returning into Italy, too, he still removed from place to place, being retained by all the first cities in Tuscany; and still more in Lombardy, until the period of his death, which occurred at Milan. He was an artist more admired for his facility of genius than for his correctness. Giuseppe, who, on his father's departure from Vienna on account of illness, was substituted architect and painter of court festivals in his twentieth year, afterwards left that city for Dresden, where he enjoyed the same office, and, after the lapse of many years, also at Berlin. He was invariably patronised by princes, who gave him regular salaries; and by other members of the empire, who engaged him, at the moment, to adorn their festivals and theatres. His son Carlo pursued the same career, being pensioned first by the Margrave of Bareith, and afterwards by the King of Prussia, as successor to his father; but he acquired greater reputation in foreign countries. For, Germany becoming involved in war, he took occasion to make the tour of France, proceeding through Flanders and Holland, and visiting Rome on his return into Italy. Last of all he made a voyage into England, and at the court of London rejected very [Pg 275]advantageous offers to take up his residence in that city. Many of the decorations invented by Giuseppe and Carlo, on occasion of public festivals, have been engraved from their designs, in the production of which they were equally rapid, masterly, and refined.

Where the Bibieni had failed in introducing their novel inventions for grand spectacles, their disciples finally succeeded. In this list, according to the history of Zanotti and of Crespi, the most eminent rank is held by Domenico Francia, once the assistant of Ferdinando at Vienna, afterwards architect and painter to the King of Sweden. After his term with that court had elapsed, he visited Portugal, and again proceeded to Italy and Germany, till his arrival in his native place, where he died. To him we may add the name of Vittorio Bigari, mentioned in high terms by Zanotti, an artist employed by different sovereigns of Europe, and the father of three sons, who pursued the same career. He also displayed singular merit in his figures. Nor must we omit Serafino Brizzi, who obtained equal reputation for his perspectives in oil interspersed both throughout foreign and native cities. It would form, however, an undertaking no way adapted to a compendious history, to collect the names of all the professors of so extended an art; and the more so as, in the course of the present age, it was becoming the general opinion that in many respects such art [Pg 276]was greatly on the decline, owing to the prevalence of only middling and inferior artificers.

Not many years ago, however, it seemed to revive, and a new epoch opened upon the public, the praise of which is due to Mauro Tesi, to whom his friends raised a marble monument in S. Petronio, with a bust and the following inscription: "Mauro Tesi elegantiæ veteris in pingendo ornatu et architectura restitutori." He belonged to the state of Modena, and, when young, was put to the school of a very poor painter of arms in Bologna. Thus it was his lot, writes Algarotti, to have had not a single master of architecture among the moderns. By means of a peculiar natural genius, and studying the designs of Mitelli and Colonna, examining at the same time their models throughout the city, he re-conducted the art to a style, solid in architecture, sparing in decoration, as it had formerly been, and in some parts still more philosophical and learned. His patron, the excellent Count Algarotti, assisted in perfecting his taste, and made him his companion on his tours, encouraging him to make very excellent observations on the works of the ancients. Whoever has perused his life and publications, a fine edition of which appeared at Venice, edited by the learned Aglietti, will have perceived that he was as much attached to Tesi as if he had been his own son. Nor did Tesi shew less respect to Algarotti than to a father; and when the latter went to Pisa for his [Pg 277]health, his young friend devoted himself so assiduously to him, as to contract the same disease, of which he died two years afterwards, still very young, at Bologna. Here he left various works, the most conspicuous consisting of a gallery belonging to the deceased Marquis Zambeccari, with marbles, camei, and figures, very well executed; a picture displaying grand relief combined with the most finished exactness. In Tuscany also are some remains of his taste, at S. Spirito in Pistoia, and in the hall of the Marquis Gerini at Florence. I saw, too, in possession of the count's heirs at Venice, two pictures, conceived by Algarotti and painted by Mauro. One of these, which he has described (vol. vi. p. 92) represents a temple of Serapis, decorated in the Egyptian manner, with bassi-relievi and pyramids in the distance; fit to adorn the choicest cabinet. It is enriched with figures by Zuccherelli, in the same way as Tiepolo added them to Tesi's other pieces. There are engravings of some of Mauro's works in possession of the same nobles, as well as his whole studio of designs, landscapes, views of architecture, capitals, friezes, figures; a rich and copious assemblage of materials, almost superfluous in so short but bright a career. After Mauro, no greater proofs of esteem in this art were shewn by Algarotti to any one than to Gaspero Pesci, to whom he directed a number of his letters; of him too Algarotti's heirs possess two pictures, consisting of [Pg 278]ancient architecture, with slight sketches of figures, scarcely indicated.

But at length we approach a conclusion. The Bolognese academy still continues to flourish in pristine vigour; the aids afforded to the pupils have even been extended; and, in addition to the academical prizes, there are dispensed others, which the noble families Marsili and Aldrovandi established at stated meetings, and which still go by their name. I cannot, however, as in other schools, record very splendid remunerations to the masters. But this forms the more rare and distinguished honour of the Bolognese artists—to labour for distinction, and to confer their preceptorial services in the arts and sciences upon their country, not only without reward, but even to their own loss, a subject fully treated of by Crespi (pp. 4, 5) in his Felsina. Notwithstanding these disadvantages they have continued to maintain, during two centuries, the character of masters in the art. From the time the Caracci first spoke, almost every other school listened and was silent. Their disciples followed, divided into a variety of sects; and these continued, for a long period, to hold sway in Italy. The reputation of the figurists being somewhat on the decline, a substitute sprang up in the decorative and perspective painters, who established laws, and produced examples, still eagerly imitated both in Italy and other parts. Neither the Bibieni, the Tesi, nor the others whom [Pg 279]I have mentioned towards the close, are so exclusively entitled to historical consideration, but that the Gandolfi[56] family, with several others, [Pg 280]which have either recently become extinct, or still flourish, may claim a share. Doubtless these will not be in want of deserved eulogy from other pens, that will successively follow mine.

[49] Literally, the little baker.

[50] See Lett. Pittor. tom. iv. p. 136.

[51] In his two letters, directed to Rosalba Carriera. See Catalogue of the deceased Canon Vianelli's Collection, (p. 34). This artist also published a Diary, in 1720 and 1721, written at Paris by the same lady; in which she notices her own works, her remuneration, and honours. It is accompanied by learned notes. I have recently received notice of the work, which causes me to mention it in this school.

[52] Gobbino, the little hunch-back.

[53] These paintings, executed in the abside of the cathedral, with the assistance of his pupils, constitute his most celebrated frescos. In this "Account" there is a Discourse, well worth notice, on Ancient Marbles of different Colours, which he introduced in those paintings, and the method he adopted in uniting them. Such a treatise, not to be found in any other writer, renders this little volume valuable; which shews, too, that he likewise excelled in architecture.

[54] These Treatises were published at Pesaro in 1806; and, although, as the industrious editor well observes, they were drawn up from unfinished sketches, they still gratify us, no less by their extensive information, than by the ingenuity which they display.

[55] Malvasia, vol. ii. p. 265.

[56] Previous to the present edition, Gaetano Gandolfi breathed his last; Ubaldo, his elder brother, having already preceded him to the tomb, at the time he was preparing to decorate the cupola of S. Vitale in Ravenna. Ubaldo had been pupil to Torelli, to Graziani, and in particular under Lelli had exercised his talents in drawing successfully from the naked model, and to such a foundation added dignity of style. Of this, several works in painting conducted with extreme care, as well as some in clay and stucco, at Bologna, and other places in Romagna, are the proof. But to judge more particularly of his merits, we ought to examine his academical designs. In his ideas he was common, and not very natural in his colouring, and generally considered on this account inferior to his brother Gaetano, who was esteemed in Italy one of the most able artists of his day. Bologna, always grateful to its eminent citizens, expressed at his decease the degree of esteem in which he was held while living. His obsequies, of which a separate account was published in folio, equal what we read in Malvasia respecting those of Agostino Caracci; and the oration there recited in his praise by Sig. Grilli, deserves insertion in any of the most select works written on the art. There too, Gandolfi, very judiciously, is not held up as a model in painting; a forbearance which he himself displayed, even refusing to receive pupils, and observing that he was himself in want of instruction. Yet from the influence of his great reputation he was frequently imitated, and, as it happened, with most success in his worst qualities, more particularly in his tints. In this respect he had been ill grounded by his elder brother; but improved himself by studying for the space of a year at the fountain head of colourists, in Venice, and by copying for a Venetian dilettante the finest pieces of the Caracci at Bologna. It is difficult to account for his fine colouring in some paintings, equal at least to the good artists of his time, and his inferior colouring in others, as that of the Death of Socrates, at Monsig. Trenta's, bishop of Foligno. It is feeble and deficient in truth, owing either to caprice or to age. In his preparations of paintings he was more commendable: his first conceptions were sketched on slate with pencil, and more carefully on paper. He next began to select; modelled the figures in chalk, and draped them; afterwards forming the design on a large scale, and by aid of his experiments, and of the living model, he went on completing and retouching his work. He has been accused of borrowing a little too freely from ancient models; but whoever had seen him, aged as he was, devoting himself in the public academy to the practice of modelling, will not unjustly confound him with those plagiarists, so notorious in our own day. Moreover, he may be pronounced inimitable to most artists, in those rare gifts, which nature had lavished upon him: enthusiasm, fertility of invention, sensibility, and skill in depicting the passions; to which he added a correct eye, and ability both to design and compose, in the decoration of friezes for the institute, exotic plants and other rarities of nature, as well as to engrave with much elegance, and skill to paint in oil as well as in fresco. A really impartial biographer must pass his opinion on every man, and let his verdict result from an examination of his masterpieces. Such belonging to Gandolfi are his Assumption, in the ceiling at S. M. della Vita, and the Nuptials of Cana, at the refectory of S. Salvatore in Bologna; not to insist on the Martyrdom of S. Pantaleone, at the church of the Girolimini in Naples, with some other works scattered through various parts of Italy.

[Pg 281]




The Ancients.

Ferrara, once the capital of a small principality under the dukes of Este, but, since the year 1597, reduced into a legation, dependant upon the see of Rome, lays claim to a series of excellent artists, greatly superior to its power and population. This, however, will appear less extraordinary, if we call to mind the number of its illustrious poets, commencing even before the time of Boiardo and Ariosto, and continued down to our own days; a sure indication of national genius, equally fervid, elegant, and inventive, adapted, more than common, to the cultivation of the agreeable arts. Added to this felicity of disposition was the good taste prevalent in the city, which, in its distribution of public labours, or its approbation of their results, was directed by learned and enlightened men, of whom it could boast in every department. Thus the artists have in general observed appropriate costume, kept their attention on history, and composed in such a manner that a classical eye, particularly in their paintings [Pg 282]in the ducal palaces, recognizes the image of that antiquity of which it has previously obtained a knowledge from books. The conveniences of its site, also, have been favourable to the progress of painting at Ferrara; which, situated near Venice, Parma, and Bologna, not far from Florence, and at no very great distance from Rome itself, has afforded facility to its students for selecting from the Italian schools what was most conformable to the peculiar genius of each. Hence the origin of so many beautiful manners as adorn this school; some imitating only one classic master, others composed of various styles; so that Giampietro Zanotti was in doubt whether, after the five leading schools of Italy, that of Ferrara did not surpass every other. It is not my purpose to decide the question, nor could it be done without giving offence to one or other of the parties. I shall here only attempt a brief history of this school upon the same plan as the rest; and I shall include a few artists of Romagna, agreeably to my promise in the preceding book, or, to speak more correctly, in its introduction.

The most valuable information which I have to insert will be extracted from a precious MS. communicated to me by the Ab. Morelli, the distinguished ornament of his age and country, no less than of the learned office he fills.[57] This MS. contains the lives of Ferrarese professors of the fine arts, written by Doctor Girolamo Baruffaldi, first a canon of Ferrara, next archpriest of Cento. To [Pg 283]these is prefixed a laboured preface by Pierfrancesco Zanotti, with copious emendations and notes by the Canon Crespi. Such a work, drawn up by this polished writer, and thus approved, continued, and illustrated by two men of the profession, was long a desideratum in Italy; nor do I know why it never made its appearance. A specimen, indeed, was given by Bottari, at the end of his Life of Alfonso Lombardi, in the course of which he inserted the life of Galasso, and of a few other artists of Ferrara. Moreover, in the fourth volume of the "Lettere Pittoriche," he published a letter of the deceased Can. Antenore Scalabrini, relating to Baruffaldi's[TN12] MS., which underwent this noble ecclesiastic's corrections, communicated by him to Crespi, who inserted them in his annotations. Baruffaldi, also, having commenced the lives of the artists of Cento, and of Lower Romagna, a work left unfinished, Crespi supplied all it wanted; and it has been mentioned by us in the school of Guercino, and among some artists who flourished at Ravenna and other cities of Romagna. Cittadella, author of the "Catalogue of Ferrarese Painters and Sculptors," (edited in 1782, in 4 vols.) declares that he drew his chief information from Baruffaldi, (vol. iii. p. 140). He complains, however, in the preface, that a more correct work being either destroyed or lost, (alluding probably to this work with Crespi's notes), "he has not been in possession of such undoubted authorities as might be desired;" a very candid admission, fully entitled to [Pg 284]credit. But this work having come into my possession, through the courtesy of my learned friend, I shall avail myself of it for public information. On such authority I shall freely ground this part of my history, adding notices drawn from other sources, and not unfrequently from the Guide of Ferrara, published by the learned Frizzi, in 1787; a work that may be included among the best yet given to Italy. So much we state by way of exordium.

The Ferrarese School took its twin origin, so to say, with that of Venice, if we may credit a monumental testimony, cited by Dr. Ferrante Borsetti, in his work called "Historia almi Ferrariensis Gymnasii," published in 1735. This memorial was extracted from an ancient codex of Virgil, written in 1193; which, according to Baruffaldi, passed from the library of the Carmelites at Ferrara, into the possession of the Counts Alvarotti at Padua, whose books, in course of time, were added to the library of the Paduan seminary. At the end of this codex is read the name of Gio. Alighieri, the miniaturist of this volume; and in the last page there had afterwards been added, in the ancient vulgar tongue, the following memorial:—that in 1242, Azzo d'Este, first lord of Ferrara, committed to one Gelasio di Niccolo, a painting of the Fall of Phaeton; and from him too Filippo, bishop of Ferrara, ordered an image of our Lady, and an ensign of St. George, which was used in going to meet Tiepolo, when he was despatched by the Venetian republic as ambassador to Ferrara. Gelasio is there [Pg 285]stated to belong to the district of St. George, and to have been pupil in Venice to Teofane of Constantinople, which induced Zanetti to place this Greek at the head of the masters of his school. On the authority of so many learned men, to whom such memorial appeared genuine, I am led to give it credit; although it contains some marks that, at first sight, appear suspicious. I have further made inquiries after it in the Paduan seminary, but it is not to be found there.

Approaching the fourteenth century, I find mention, that whilst Giotto was returning from Verona into Tuscany, "he was compelled to stop at Ferrara, and paint in the service of these lords of Este, at their palace; also some pieces at S. Agostino, which are still there;" that is, in Vasari's time, from whom these words are cited. I am uncertain whether any yet exist; but they afford sufficient authority to believe that the Ferrarese School, directed by such models, revived in an equal degree with the other schools of Italy. There are no accounts of the artists who flourished nearest to Giotto, from which we may judge how far they were influenced by his manner. His successors, however, must have been one Rambaldo and one Laudadio, who, about 1380, are recorded, in the annals of Marano, to have painted in the church of the Servi. This is now demolished, nor does there exist any account of the style of these painters. As early as 1380 appeared paintings in fresco in the monastery of S. Antonio, by an unknown [Pg 286]hand, and also retouched, but of whose style I find no indication. In the Bolognese School I treated of one Cristoforo, who painted about the same time, at the church of Mezzaratta;[TN13] but as it is a disputed question whether he belonged to Ferrara or to Modena, nothing certain can be concluded as to his manner. Thus the history of letters affords us some degree of light, up to the opening of the fifteenth century; but the history of existing monuments only dates from Galasso Galassi, an undoubted Ferrarese, who flourished subsequent to the year 1400, when even in Florence the Giottesque style had begun to decline in favour of more recent artists.

The master of this artist is unknown; nor can I easily suppose, with some, that he was educated at Bologna. I found my objection upon an observation made upon Galasso's pictures, mentioned by us in the church of Mezzaratta at Bologna, and obvious to all. They consist of histories of the Passion, signed by the author's name; and, if I mistake not, they are wholly opposed to the style of all other pieces in the same place. The character of the heads is well studied for that period, the beards and hair more in disorder than in any other old painter I have seen; the hands small, and fingers widely detached from each other; and, in the whole, something peculiar and novel, apparently not derived from the Bolognese, from the Venetians, nor from the Florentines. I conjecture, then, that he acquired this style of design when young, [Pg 287]and introduced it from his native place; the more so, as this production appearing in 1404, according to Baruffaldi, must have formed one of his earliest specimens at Bologna. He afterwards remained there many years, though I cannot think the date 1462, said to be attached to one of his histories, genuine; and, if there, it must have been added subsequently; but other proofs are not wanting of his permanent residence. For he there took the portrait of Niccolo Aretino, the sculptor, who died in 1417, as we are assured by Vasari; and on other authority, he produced some altar-pieces, one of which yet exists at S. Maria delle Rondini. It represents the Virgin sitting among various saints, and boasts, says Crespi, a depth of colouring, combined with architecture, countenances, and drapery not ill designed. He has also a Nunziata, in the Malvezzi museum, a picture displaying ancient design, but well finished and of soft colouring. His best piece was a history in fresco, representing the Obsequies of the Virgin, conducted by order of the Card. Bessarion, Bolognese legate, at S. Maria del Monte, in 1450; a work much admired by Crespi, in whose time it was destroyed. From similar facts, added to the commendations bestowed on Galasso by Leandro Alberti, I conclude that he must have obtained much reputation in the above city. He died in his native place, in what precise year is uncertain. Vasari treats of him at length in his first edition, but in the second [Pg 288]he is dismissed with a few lines. Hence the Ferrarese also have directed against him the same complaints as the other schools.

In the time of Galasso flourished Antonio da Ferrara, a disciple of the Florentines. Vasari bestows on him a short eulogy, among the pupils of Angiolo Gaddi; observing that he "produced many fine works at S. Francesco d'Urbino, and at Città di Castello." Treating too of Timoteo della Vite, born at Urbino, the son of Calliope, daughter of Mastro Antonio Alberto da Ferrara, he adds, that this last artist was "a very fair painter for his age, such as his works at Urbino and elsewhere declare him." Nothing undoubted now remains of him; if, indeed, a picture on gold ground in the sacristy at S. Bartolommeo, representing the Acts of the holy Apostle, with others of the Baptist, in small figures, is not from his hand. The work doubtless belongs to that age; bearing much resemblance to Angiolo, with colours even more soft and warm. In Ferrara he left nothing that now survives; the chambers which he painted for Alberto d'Este, marquis of Ferrara, in his palace, afterwards changed into a public studio, being destroyed. This work was conducted about 1438, when the general council for the reunion of the Greeks was opened at Ferrara, in the presence of Pope Eugenius IV., and John Paleologus, the emperor. The Marquis ordered Antonio to represent this grand assembly on different walls, with the likenesses of [Pg 289]full size of the principal personages then present. In other apartments he exhibited the Glory of the Blessed, which conferred on that place the name it still bears, of the Palace of Paradise. From a few relics of this work it may with certainty be deduced, that this artist displayed greater beauty in his heads, more softness of colouring, more variety in the attitude of his figures, than Galasso. Orlandi calls him Antonio da Ferrara, adding, that he flourished about the year 1500; a term of life too protracted for us to venture here to confirm.

Towards the middle of the fifteenth century appeared Bartolommeo Vaccarini, whose paintings, signed with the artist's name, Baruffaldi declares that he himself had seen. There was also Oliviero da S. Giovanni, a fresco painter, whose Madonnas were then by no means rare in the city. To these we may add Ettore Bonacossa, painter of that holy image of our Lady called del Duomo, which not long ago was solemnly crowned, at the foot of which is read the name of Ettore, and the year 1448. Still they were only artists of mediocrity; but others attained greater celebrity, having modernized their style in some degree, after the example, as I incline to think, of two foreigners. One of these was Pier della Francesca, invited to Ferrara to paint in the palace of Schivanoia by Niccolo d'Este, as it is conjectured in a note to Baruffaldi. Surprised by sickness, he was unable to complete the work, but he painted there a few apartments, which yet remain as a model for [Pg 290]young artists. The other was Squarcione, who also, in the days of Niccolo d'Este and his son Borso, opened a school in Padua; whose manner had followers without number throughout Italy, and must have influenced the Ferrarese artists; distant, perhaps, two days' journey from Padua.

Possessing such means appeared Cosimo Tura, whom Vasari and other historians term Cosmè, and give him as pupil to Galasso. He was court-painter in the time of Borso d'Este and Tito Strozzi, who left a poetic eulogy upon him. His style is dry and humble, as was customary in that age, still far removed from true dignity and softness. The figures are treated in the style of Mantegna, the muscles clearly expressed, the architecture drawn with care, the bassi-relievi highly ornamented, and laboured in the most minute and exact taste. This is remarkable in his miniatures, which are pointed out to foreigners in the choral books of the cathedral and the Certosa, as extreme rarities. Nor does he vary in his oil paintings; as in his Presepio, in the sacristy of the cathedral; the Acts of S. Eustace, in the monastery of S. Guglielmo; various Saints surrounding the Virgin, in the church of S. Giovanni. In his larger figures he is not so much commended; though Baruffaldi speaks highly of his works in fresco, in the forementioned palace of Schivanoia. The design was distributed into twelve compartments, in a grand hall; and it might well be entitled a small poetic series, representing the exploits [Pg 291]of Borso. In each picture was included a month in the year, which was scientifically indicated with astronomical symbols and classical deities, adapted to each; an idea very probably borrowed from the saloon at Padua. In each month, too, was introduced the prince in his usual employment at such season; in the judgment-hall, in the chase, at spectacles, with great variety of circumstances, and full of poetry in the execution.

There was also an artist of considerable merit named Stefano da Ferrara, pupil to Squarcione, and recorded by Vasari, in the life of Mantegna, as a painter of few pieces, among which were the Miracles of S. Antonio painted round the ark. Though Vasari describes his works only as tolerable, it must be observed that he was considerably above mediocrity, at least in the smaller figures; since Michele Savonarola (de Laud. Patavii, 1. i.) says of the specimens before mentioned, that they seemed to move, while the dignity and importance of the place in which he painted conveys a high idea of his reputation. This work is lost; but there remains in the same temple a half-figure of the Virgin, which Vasari attributes to Stefano; and in the church of the Madonnina at Ferrara is one of his altar-pieces of S. Rocco, in a good manner. Baruffaldi supposes that he flourished till about 1500, when he found mention of the death of one Stefano Falsagalloni, a painter; an age very likely to be correct, when speaking of a contemporary of Mantegna. [Pg 292]On the other side, there is cited an altar-piece at S. Maria in Vado, executed in 1531, but which might possibly come from the hand of another Stefano.

However it be respecting this epoch, certain it is, that towards the beginning of the sixteenth century Ferrara was in no want of celebrated artists; since Vasari, as we have observed in the Bolognese School, affirms that Gio. Bentivoglio caused his palace to be decorated "by various Ferrarese masters," besides those of Modena and of Bologna. Among these he included Francia, on whom, about 1490, he confers the name of "a new painter." In the list of artists of Ferrara I included Lorenzo Costa; and from the circumstance of Francia being then a "new painter," and other reasons, I drew an argument against the received opinion that Costa was the pupil of Francia; which, therefore, I shall not here repeat. I must not, however, omit other information respecting him, as connected with Ferrara, where he resided before coming into notice at Bologna. At court, as well as for private individuals, he there conducted pictures and portraits, with other works "held in much esteem;" and at the Padri di S. Domenico he painted the whole choir, now long since destroyed; where "we recognise the care which he used in the art, and how much study he bestowed upon his works." These, I believe, and other pieces conducted at Ravenna, acquired him reputation at Bologna, and disposed the Bentivogli to avail themselves of his talents.

[Pg 293]It remains to discover on which of the Ferrarese artists who attended him, such commission was conferred. Cosmè and Stefano were then living; but it is known that more closely connected than these with the Bentivogli, was Cossa of Ferrara, a painter almost forgotten in his native place, from having resided so long at Bologna. Some of his pieces are still there, consisting of Madonnas, seated between saints and angels, with tolerably good architecture. One of these, bearing his name, and date of 1474, is now in the Institute, vulgar in point of features and but middling in colouring. This, however, is not his best specimen, there being two portraits of the Bentivogli, (one at the church of the Baracano, the other in the Merchants' palace,) from which I should conjecture that he is one of those artists of whom we are in search. Nor, at this time, is there any other Ferrarese artist whom I can add to him, besides Baldassare Estense, some of whose pictures, signed by himself, are cited by Baruffaldi; and in museums are some of his medals, two, more particularly, in honour of Ercole d'Este, Duke of Ferrara, very ably executed in the year 1472.

On the subject of first rate artists I am often constrained to introduce notices in different places; in particular, when they were employed in some cities, and in others became heads of schools. Such was Costa in respect to Ferrara. He formed pupils for other schools; as one Gio. Borghese, from Messina, and a Nicoluccio Calabrese, who, apprehending [Pg 294]that he was caricatured in one of Costa's productions, fiercely assaulted, and almost despatched him with his dagger. I pass over others ascribed to him by Orlandi, Bottari, and Baruffaldi; in which they are mistaken, as I remarked in the School of Bologna, when treating of Francia. The Ferrarese constitute his real honour; Costa being here what Bellini was at Venice, and Francia at Bologna, the founder of a great school, and a public teacher. Some of his pupils competed with the best artists of the fourteenth century; and part approached the splendor of the golden age. We shall review the whole series, which, commencing at this period, and continuing to the following epoch, gives him a claim to a primary station among the masters of Italy. All his disciples became excellent designers and noble colourists, transmitting both these qualities to their successors. Their tints exhibit a peculiar kind of strength, or, as a great connoisseur used to express it, of fire and ardour, which often serves to characterize them in collections; a quality not so much derived from Costa as from some other masters.

Ercole Grandi, called by Vasari, in his life, Ercole da Ferrara, became an abler designer than his master Costa, and is greatly preferred to him by the historian. Such too I believe to have been the public opinion from the period when Grandi was employed with Costa at Bologna, in preference to whom he was invited to different places to paint alone. But his affection for his master, and his [Pg 295]own modesty, led him to reject every advantageous offer; so that when Costa went to Mantua, he would have followed, had he been permitted so to do. Lorenzo, however, could no longer brook a disciple who already surpassed him; owing to which, and the necessity of completing the painting he had begun in the Garganelli chapel at St. Peter's, he left Grandi in his stead at Bologna. Ercole there produced a work which Albano pronounced equal to Mantegna, to Pietro Perugino, or any artist who professed the modern antique style; nor perhaps did any boast a touch altogether so soft, harmonious, and refined. He painted to advance the art, and spared neither time nor expense to attain his object, employing seven years on his fresco histories at St. Peter's; and five more in retouching them when dry. This was only at occasional intervals, employing himself at the same period in other works, sometimes at, and sometimes out of Bologna. He would even have continued to render his work more perfect, had it not been for the jealousy of some artists in the city, who nightly robbed him of his designs and cartoons, which so greatly incensed him that he abandoned his labours, and Bologna itself. Such is the account of Baruffaldi, and it agrees with the invidious character of certain artists of that period, drawn by Vasari, who in this respect also drew down upon himself the indignation of Malvasia.

In the chapel of Garganelli Ercole painted, on one side, the Death of the Virgin, and on the [Pg 296]other the Crucifixion of Christ; nor did he produce in such a variety any one head like another. He also added a novelty in his draperies, a knowledge of foreshortening, an expression of passionate grief, "such," says Vasari, "as can scarcely be conceived." The soldiers "are finely executed, with the most natural and appropriate action that any figures up to that time had displayed." Many years ago, when this chapel was taken down, as much as possible of Ercole's painting was preserved, and placed in the wall of the Tanara palace, where it may still be seen. It is indeed his masterpiece, and one of the most excellent that appeared in Italy during his times, in which the artist seemed to have revived the example of Isocrates, who devoted so many years to the polish of his celebrated panegyric. There is little else of his remaining at Bologna; but at S. Paolo in Ferrara is a genuine altar-piece, and nothing more in public. Some other of his works are preserved in the church of Porto in Ravenna, and some pictures in the public palace at Cesena. He has some specimens in foreign galleries; two of his pictures are at Dresden, a few others at Rome and Florence; though frequently his name has been usurped by that of another painter, Ercole not having enjoyed the celebrity which he deserved. Thus his picture of the Woman taken in Adultery, used to be pointed out in the Pitti palace for a work of Mantegna. For the rest, his paintings are extremely rare, as he did not survive beyond his fortieth [Pg 297]year, during which period he painted with the caution of a modest scholar, more than with the freedom of a master.

Lodovico Mazzolini is not to be confounded with the Mazzolino mentioned by Lomazzo in his "Idea of the Temple or Theatre of Painting;" thus entitling Francesco Mazzuola, as if in sport. Mazzolini of Ferrara was transformed by Vasari into Malini, by a Florentine writer into Marzolini, and by others divided into two, so as to become a duplicate, and answer for two painters—one Malini, another Mazzolini; both of Ferrara, and pupils to the same Costa. To crown his misfortunes, he was not sufficiently known to Baruffaldi himself, who described him as "no despicable scholar of Costa," having probably seen only some of his more feeble efforts. He did not excel in large figures, but possessed very rare merit in those on a smaller scale. At S. Francesco in Bologna is one of his altar-pieces, the Child Jesus disputing in the Temple; to which is added a small history of his birth. It was admired by Baldassare da Siena; and Lamo, in his MS. often before cited, describes it as an excellent production; but this piece was retouched by Cesi. Other little pictures, and among these the duplicates of his histories already recorded, are to be seen at Rome in the Aldobrandini gallery, presented, perhaps, as a legacy by the Cardinal Alessandro, who in Mazzolini's time was legate at Ferrara. Other pieces are at the Campidoglio, formerly belonging [Pg 298]to Card. Pio, as I gather from a note of Mons. Bottari. From such specimens, in considerable number and genuine, we may form an idea of Mazzolini's manner, which Baruffaldi laments should continue to be one nearly unknown to the dilettanti. It displays an incredible degree of finish; sometimes appearing in his smallest pictures like miniature; while not only the figures, but the landscape, the architecture, and the bassi-relievi, are most carefully executed. There is a spirit and clearness in his heads, to which few of his contemporaries could attain; though they are wholly taken from life, and not remarkably select; in particular those of his old men, which in the wrinkles and the nose sometimes border on caricature. The colour is of a deep tone, in the style before mentioned; not so soft as that of Ercole; with the addition of some gilding even in the drapery, but sparingly applied. In some collections his name has been confounded with that of Gaudenzio Ferrari, perhaps derived by mistake from Lodovico da Ferrara. Thus, in the royal gallery at Florence, a little picture of the Virgin and Holy Child, to whom S. Anna is seen presenting fruits, with figures of S. Giovacchino and another saint, has been attributed to Ferrari. But it is the work of Mazzolini, if I do not deceive myself, after the comparison made with others examined at Rome.

From the resemblance of his style to Costa, and even superior in the heads, it is conjectured that Michele Coltellini sprung from the same school. [Pg 299]Some specimens of his works are recorded in the church and convent of the PP. Agostiniani of Lombardy, two of which yet remain in existence; one an altar-piece at the church, in the usual composition of the fourteenth century, and in the refectory a S. Monica with four female saints belonging to that order. The date inscribed, together with his name, on an altar-piece, informs us that he was still living in the year 1517. It is uncertain in what school Domenico Panetti received his education; but I know that his works, during several years, appear only feeble efforts. His former pupil, Garofolo, however, returning subsequently from Rome, after acquiring the new style under Raffaello, he received his old master, Panetti, as a pupil, and so greatly improved him as to render his latter works worthy of competition with the best masters of the fourteenth century. Such is his St. Andrew, at the Agostiniani, just before recorded, in which he displays not only accuracy, but, what is far more rare for his times, a dignified and majestic manner. The artist's name, which is affixed, with several other works conducted in the same taste (one of which is now seen in Dresden) bear evidence of a change in pictoric character without example. Gio. Bellini and Pietro Perugino, indeed, improved themselves upon the models of their disciples, but they had previously attained the rank of eminent masters, which cannot be averred of Panetti. Vasari relates that Garofolo was pupil to Domenico Lanero, in Ferrara; an [Pg 300]error resembling that of Orlandi, who terms him Lanetti, and all these are the same individual Domenico Panetti. He flourished some years during the sixteenth century, in the same manner as the two Codi, and the three Cotignoli, who though belonging to lower Romagna, having flourished abroad, have been included in the school of Bologna, or in its adjacent places. A few others, known only by their names, such as Alessandro Carpi, or Cesare Testa, may be sought for in the work of Cittadella.

[Pg 301]



Artists of Ferrara, from the time of Alfonso I. till Alfonso II., last of the Este family in Ferrara, who emulate the best Italian styles.

The most flourishing epoch of the Ferrarese School dates its commencement from the first decades of the sixteenth century. It traces its source to two brothers named Dossi, and to Benvenuto da Garofolo, or, more correctly perhaps, to Duke Alfonso d'Este, who employed them in his service, so as to retain them in their native place, where they might form pupils worthy of themselves. This prince, whose memory has been embalmed by so many distinguished poets, was peculiarly attached to the fine arts. In his court Titian painted, and Ariosto conferred with him upon the subjects of his pencil, as we learn from Ridolfi in the life of Titian himself. This was subsequent to the year 1514, when Gian Bellini, already old, left in an unfinished state his noble work of the Bacchanals, which has long decorated the Aldobrandini gallery at Rome; and when Titian was called upon to complete it. He likewise conducted various paintings in fresco, which still remain [Pg 302]in a small chamber, in the palace of Ferrara; besides others in oil, such as portraits of the duke and duchess, and his celebrated Cristo della Moneta, which we have extolled for one of his most studied productions. Pellegrino da S. Danielle, another pupil of Gian Bellini, but not to compare with Titian, though not inferior to many of the same school, was retained and honoured by the same court, where he left a few works,[58] of which there remains no account, or confounded, perhaps, with those of Dosso, an artist of much celebrity, and of various styles, at the same court, as we now proceed to shew.

Assisted by such models, the talents of Dosso Dossi, and of his brother, Gio. Batista, born at Dosso, a place near Ferrara, may have been considerably improved. They were, first, pupils to Costa, and afterwards, says Baruffaldi, resided six years at Rome, and five in Venice, devoting themselves to the study of the best masters, and drawing portraits from life. By such means they formed their peculiar character, but of different kinds. Dosso succeeded admirably in figures, while Gio. Batista was perhaps below mediocrity. Still he aimed at them; sometimes even in spite of his brother's remonstrances, with whom he lived at continual variance, though unable to separate from him by command of the prince who gave him as his brother's assistant. He was thus like a slave at the oar, ever drudging against his will; [Pg 303]and when obliged to consult respecting their common labours, he wrote what suggested itself, refusing to communicate by word of mouth. Envious and spiteful in his mind, he was equally deformed in person, expressing as it were the picture of his internal malignity. His real talent lay in ornamenting, and still more in landscape, a branch in which, according to Lomazzo, he was inferior neither to Lotto, to Gaudenzio, to Giorgione, nor to Titian. There remain some specimens of his friezes in the palace of the Legation, and in still better preservation some works noticed by Baruffaldi at the villa of Belriguardo.

The two brothers obtained constant employment at Alfonso's court, and subsequently from Ercole II. They, likewise, composed the cartoons for the tapestries at the cathedral of Ferrara, and for those which are in Modena, part at S. Francesco and part at the ducal palace, representing various exploits of the Esti. How far Vasari may be entitled to credit in his account of Ercole's invitation of Pordenone to compose cartoons for his tapestries, there being no good figurists at Ferrara for "themes of war," it is difficult to decide. He adds, that Pordenone died there, shortly after his arrival, in 1540, as was reported, by poison. This assertion, by no means flattering to the Dossi who then flourished, has not been noticed, I believe, by any Ferrarese writers, who else would, doubtless, have defended their reputation by citing the exploits of arms figured in a variety of tapestries. [Pg 304]On other points, indeed, this has been done, particularly in regard to their paintings, which decorated a chamber of the Imperiale, a villa belonging to the dukes of Urbino. It is observed by Vasari, that "the work was conducted in an absurd style, and they departed from the Duke Francesco Maria's court in disgrace, who was compelled to destroy all they had executed, and cause the whole to be repainted from designs by Genga." The answer made to this is, that the destruction of that work was owing to the jealousy of their competitors, and still more "to the policy of that prince, who did not wish his artists of Urbino surpassed by those of Ferrara." These are the words of Valesio, from Malvasia, (vol. ii. p. 150) though I believe that too much deference was paid to Valesio in adopting such an excuse; as it seems inconsistent with the judgment and taste of the prince to suppose him capable of this species of barbarism, and from the motive which is adduced. I rather apprehend that the work must have failed by the fault of Gio. Batista, who, dissatisfied with his allotted grotesques and landscapes, insisted on shining as a figurist. There is a similar example in a court-yard of Ferrara, where he inserted some figures against Dosso's wishes, and acquitted himself ill. For the rest, a much better defence of their talents was made by Ariosto. For he not merely availed himself of Dosso's talents to draw his own portrait, and the arguments to the cantos of his Furioso, but has immortalized [Pg 305]both his and his brother's name, along with the most eminent Italian painters when he wrote, "Leonardo, Andrea Mantegna, e Gian Bellino, Duo Dossi;" names which are followed by those of Michelangiolo, Raffaello, Tiziano, and Sebastiano del Piombo. Such commendation was not a mere tribute to friendship, but to Dosso's merit, always highly extolled likewise by foreigners. His most distinguished works are now perhaps at Dresden, which boasts seven of them, and in particular the altar-piece of the four Doctors of the Church, one of his most celebrated pieces. His St. John in Patmos is at the Lateranensi in Ferrara; the head, free from any retouching, is a masterpiece of expression, and acknowledged by Cochin himself to be highly Raffaellesque. But his most admired production was at the Domenicani of Faenza, where there is now a copy, the original having been removed on account of its decay. It exhibits Christ disputing among the doctors; the attitudes so naturally expressive of surprise, and the features and draperies so well varied, as to appear admirable even in the copy. There is a little picture on the same subject in the Campidoglio, formerly belonging to Card. Pio of Ferrara, full of life, polish, and coloured with most tasteful and mellow tints. By the same hand I have seen several "Conversazioni" in the Casa Sampieri at Bologna, and a few Holy Families in other collections, one in possession of Sig. Cav. Acqua at Osimo. In pictoric works I sometimes find him compared with Raffaello, [Pg 306]sometimes with Titian or Coreggio; and certainly he has the gracefulness, the tints, and chiaroscuro of a great master. He retains, however, more of the old style than these artists, and boasts a design and drapery which attract the spectator by their novelty. And in some of his more laboured pieces he adds to this novelty by a variety and warmth of colours which nevertheless does not seem to diminish their union and harmony.

Dosso survived Gio. Batista some years, during which he continued to paint, and to form pupils, until infirmity and old age compelled him to desist. The productions of this school are recognised in Ferrara by their resemblance of style; and from their great number it is conjectured that the Dossi directed the works, while their assistants and disciples executed them. Few of these however are known, and among them one Evangelista Dossi, who has nothing to recommend him but his name, and whose works Scannelli did not care to point out to posterity. Jacopo Pannicciati, by birth a noble, is mentioned by historians as a first rate imitator of the Dossi, though he painted little, and died young, about the year 1540. Niccolo Rosselli, much employed at Ferrara, has been supposed to belong to this school, from his resemblance in some pictures to Dosso, particularly in that of Christ with two angels, on an altar of the Battuti Bianchi. But in his twelve altar-pieces at the Certosa, he imitated also Benvenuto and Bagnacavallo, with several other artists. His [Pg 307]school, then, must remain uncertain; the more so as his composition, so very laboured, soft, and minute, with reddish tints like those of crayons, leaves it even doubtful whether he studied at Ferrara at all. The same taste was displayed by Leonardo Brescia, more a merchant than a painter; from which some have supposed him Roselli's pupil.

Better known than these is the name of Caligarino, in other words the little shoe-maker, a title derived from his first profession. His real name was Gabriel Cappellini; and one of the Dossi having said, in praise of a pair of shoes made by him, that they seemed to be painted, he took the hint and relinquished his awl to embrace his new profession. The old Guide of Ferrara extols his bold design and the strength of his colours. The best that now remains is his picture of the Virgin between two Saints John, at S. Giovannino; the ground of which has been retouched, or rather spoiled. An altar-piece, in good preservation, is also ascribed to him in S. Alessandro, at Bergamo, representing our Lord's Supper. The manner partakes in some degree of that of the fourteenth century, though very exact and boasting good tints. In time, however, he approached nearer to the moderns, as we gather from another Holy Supper, a small picture in possession of Count Carrara. This new style has led to the supposition that he was pupil to Paul Veronese, which it is difficult to believe respecting an artist who was already employed in his art as early as 1520.

[Pg 308]Gio. Francesco Surchi, called Dielai, was pupil and assistant to the Dossi, when employed in painting at Belriguardo, at Belvedere, at the Giovecca, and at Cepario, in which palaces they gave the most distinguished proofs of their merit. Thus instructed by both brothers, he became perhaps the most eminent figurist among his fellow-pupils, and beyond question the best ornamental painter. He left few specimens in the second branch, but many in the first. In rapidity, vivacity, and grace in his figures, he approaches Dosso, and in a similar manner in his easy and natural mode of draping. In the warmth of his colouring, and in his strong lights, he even aimed at surpassing him; but, like most young artists who carry to excess the maxims of their schools, he became crude and inharmonious, at least in some of his works. Two of his Nativities at Ferrara are highly extolled, one at the Benedettini, the other at S. Giovannino, to which last is added the portrait of Ippolito Riminaldi, a distinguished civilian of his age. Writers are divided in opinion respecting the comparative excellence of these two altar-pieces, but they agree in awarding great merit to both.

We proceed to treat of Benvenuto, another great luminary of this school; and we must first premise that there are some mistakes as to his name, which has often betrayed our dilettanti into errors. Besides Benvenuto Tisio, surnamed from his country Garofolo, there flourished at the same period Gio. Batista Benvenuti, by some said to have been also [Pg 309]a native of Garofolo, and from his father's occupation denominated Ortolano, the gardener. Now, by many, he has been confounded with Tisio, both from resemblance of name and taste, so far as to have had even his portrait mistaken for the former, and as such inserted in Vasari's edition that appeared at Bologna. There Ortolano had pursued his studies about 1512, from the works of Raffaello, which were few, and from those of Bagnacavallo, whose style he afterwards emulated in some pictures. Leaving that place sooner than he had intended, owing to an act of homicide, he never attained to a complete imitation of Raffaello. But he excelled in his taste for design and perspective, united to more robust colouring, observes Baruffaldi, than what we see in Raffaello himself, and it is habitual in this school during nearly the whole of the sixteenth century. Several of his altar-pieces have been transferred into the Roman galleries, where in the present day they are attributed, I believe, to Tisio, whose first manner, being more careful than soft and tasteful, may easily be mistaken for that of Ortolano. There are others at Ferrara, both in public and private, and one in the usual old style of composition at S. Niccolo, with the date affixed of 1520. In the parochial church of Bondeno there is another, which is extolled by Scannelli (p. 319), in which are represented the Saints Sebastian and Rocco, and Demetrius, who, in military dress, is seen leaning on the hilt of his sword, absorbed in thought; the whole attitude [Pg 310]so picturesque and real as at once to attract the eye of the beholder.

We cannot be surprised that his name should have been eclipsed by Tisio, an artist deservedly extolled as the most eminent among Ferrarese painters. Of him we have treated rather at length in the Roman School, both as occupying a high station in the list of Raffaello's pupils, and as the one most frequently met with in the Roman collections. We have a little before mentioned Benvenuto's first education under Panetti, from whose school he went to Cremona, under Niccolo Soriani, his maternal uncle, and next under Boccaccio Boccacci. On Niccolo's death, in 1499, he fled from Cremona, and first resided during fifteen months in Rome, with Gian Baldini, a Florentine. Thence he travelled through various Italian cities, remained two years with Costa in Mantua, and then returning for a short space to Ferrara, finally proceeded back to Rome. These circumstances I here give, on account of a number of Benvenuto's works being met with in Ferrara and elsewhere, which partake little or nothing of the Roman style, though not excluded as apocryphal, as they are attributed to his earlier age. After remaining a few years with Raffaello, his domestic affairs recalled him to Ferrara; having arranged these, he prepared to return to Rome, where his great master anxiously awaited him, according to Vasari, in order to accomplish him in the art of design. But the solicitations of Panetti, and still more, the [Pg 311]commissions of Duke Alfonso, retained him in his native place, engaged with the Dossi in immense undertakings at Belriguardo and other places. It is observed by Baruffaldi, that the degree of Raffaellesque taste to be traced in the two brothers' works, is to be attributed to Tisio. He conducted a great number of other paintings, both in fresco and in oil.

His most happy period dates from 1519, when he painted in S. Francesco the Slaughter of the Innocents; availing himself of earthen models, and copying draperies, landscape, and in short every thing from the life. In the same church is his Resurrection of Lazarus, and his celebrated Taking of Christ, commenced in 1520, and finished in 1524. No better works appeared from his hand, nor better composed, more animated, conducted with more care and softness of colouring. There only remains some trace of the fourteenth century, in point of design; and some little affectation of grace, if the opinion of Vasari be correct. The district formerly abounded with similar specimens of his in fresco; and they are also met with in private, as that frieze in a chamber of the Seminary, which in point of grace and Raffaellesque taste is well deserving of being engraved. Many of his works, also, in oil remain, exhibited here and there throughout the churches and collections of Ferrara; at once so many and so beautiful as alone to suffice for the decoration of a city. His St. Peter Martyr was more particularly admired by Vasari; a picture [Pg 312]ornamenting the Dominicans, remarkable for its force, which some professors have supposed to have been painted in competition with St. Peter Martyr, by Titian; and in case of its loss to have been able to supply its place. His Helen, too, a picture of a more elegant character, at the same place, is greatly admired; this gracefulness forming one of Benvenuto's most peculiar gifts. And, indeed, not a few of his Madonnas, his Virgins, and his boys, which he painted in his softer manner, have occasionally been mistaken for Raffaello's. His picture of the Princes Corsini deceived good judges, as we are informed by Bottari; and the same might have happened with the portrait of the Duke of Modena, and others scattered through the Roman galleries, where are many of his pieces on a large scale, particularly in the Chigi palace. All these must be kept in view, in forming an estimate of Garofolo. His little pictures, consisting of scriptural histories, are very abundant in different cabinets, (Prince Borghesi himself being in possession of about forty) and although they bear his mark, a gilly-flower or violet, they were, I suspect, merely the production of his leisure hours. Those without such impress are frequently works of Panelli, who was employed along with him; often copies or repetitions by his pupils, who must have been numerous during so long a period. Baruffaldi gives him Gio. Francesco Dianti, of whom he mentions an altar-piece at the Madonnina, in the style of Garofolo, and his tomb, also at the same place, [Pg 313]with the date of his decease in 1576. Batista Griffi and Bernardin Flori, known only by some ancient legal instrument belonging to the period of 1520, do not seem to have surpassed mediocrity; which is also remarked by Vasari of all the others who sprung from the same school. We may except a third, mentioned in the same legal act, and this was Carpi, of whom I shall now proceed to treat.

It is uncertain whether the proper title of Girolamo be da Carpi, as stated by Vasari, or de' Carpi, as is supposed by Superbi; questions wholly frivolous, inasmuch as his friend Vasari did not call him a native of Carpi, but of Ferrara; and Giraldi, in the edition of his Orbecche and of his Egle, premised that the painter of the scene was Mes. Girolamo Carpi, from Ferrara. And in this city he was instructed by Garofolo, whose young attendant, in the parchment before cited, he is said to have been in 1520. He afterwards went to Bologna, where he was a good deal employed in portrait painting; until happening to meet with a small picture by Coreggio, he became attached to that style, copying every piece he could meet with, both at Modena and Parma, by the same hand. From Vasari's account we are to conclude that he was never acquainted with Coreggio, Raffaello, and Parmigianino, whatever other writers may have said. It is true he imitated them; and from the latter, more particularly, he derived those very gracefully clasped and fringed garments; and those [Pg 314]airs of heads, which, however, appear rather more solid and less attractive. On removing to Bologna, in addition to what he conducted in company with Pupini, he singly executed a Madonna with S. Rocco and other saints, for S. Salvatore; and an Epiphany, with smaller figures, full of grace, and partaking of the best Roman and Lombard manner, for the church of S. Martino. Returning at length to Ferrara, he conducted, along with his master, several pictures in fresco, particularly in the ducal Palazzina, and in the church of the Olivetani, where Baruffaldi clearly recognised his style, invariably more loaded with shadow than that of Benvenuto. In 1534 he himself represented, in a loggia of the ducal palace of Copario, the sixteen princes of Este; twelve of whom with the title of marquis, the rest as dukes, had swayed the sceptre of Ferrara. The last was Ercole II., who committed that work to Girolamo, honourable to him for the animation and propriety of the portraits, for the decoration of the termini, of the landscape, and of the perspective, with which he adorned that loggia. Titian himself had raised Carpi in that prince's consideration; not at the time when he came to Ferrara to continue the work of Bellini, since Girolamo was then only a child, but when he returned at another period; and this I mention in order to correct one of Vasari's mistaken dates.

His altar-pieces in oil are extremely rare; the Pentecost at S. Francesco di Rovigo, and the S. [Pg 315]Antonio at S. Maria in Vado di Ferrara, are the most copious, and perhaps the most celebrated which he produced. He was employed also for collections, mostly on tender and graceful subjects; but there too he is rarely to be met with. His diligence, the commissions of his sovereigns, the study of architecture, a profession in which he served Pope Julius III. and Duke Ercole II., his brief career, all prevented him from leaving many productions for the ornament of cabinets. In his style of figures he had no successors: in the art of decorating with feigned bassi-relievi, colonnades, cornices, niches, and similar architectural labours, he was rivalled by Bartolommeo Faccini, who in that manner embellished the grand court-yard of the palace. He afterwards painted there, as Carpi had done elsewhere, the Princes of Este, or more correctly, placed in the niches a bronze statue of each of them; in constructing which work he fell from the scaffolding, and died in 1577. He was assisted in the same labour by his brother Girolamo, by Ippolito Casoli, and Girolamo Grassaleoni, all of whom continued to serve their native place in quality of ornamental painters.

Whilst Benvenuto and Girolamo were thus bent on displaying all the attractions of the art, there was rising into notice, from the school of Michelangiolo at Rome, one who aspired only to the bold and terrible; a character not much known to the artists of Ferrara up to that period. His name was Bastiano Filippi, familiarly called Bastianino, [Pg 316]and surnamed Gratella,[59] from his custom of covering large pictures with crossed lines, in order to reduce them with exactness to a small scale; which he acquired from Michelangiolo, and was the first to introduce into Ferrara. He was son to Camillo, an artist of uncertain school, but who, in the opinion of Bononi, "painted with neatness and clearness, as in his Annunziata at S. Maria in Vado;" in the ground of which is a half-figure of St. Paul, which leads to the conjecture, that Camillo aspired to the style of Michelangiolo. It would seem, therefore, that Bastiano imbibed from his father his ardent attachment to that style, on account of which he secretly withdrew from his father's house, and went to Rome, where he became one of the most indefatigable copyists and a favourite disciple of Bonarruoti. How greatly he improved may be seen in his picture of the Last Judgment at Ferrara, completed in three years, in the choir of the Metropolitana; a work so nearly approaching Michelangiolo that the whole Florentine School can boast nothing of the kind. It displays grand design, great variety of figures, fine grouping, and very pleasing repose. It seems incredible that, in a theme already treated by Michelangiolo, Filippi should have succeeded in producing such novel and grand effect. Like all true imitators, he evidently aimed at copying the genius and spirit, not the figures of his model. He abused the occasion here afforded him, like Dante and [Pg 317]Michelangiolo, to gratify his friends by placing them among the elect, and to revenge himself on those who had offended him, by giving their portraits in the group of the damned. On this unhappy list, too, he placed a young lady who had broken her vows to him; elevating among the blessed, in her stead, a more faithful young woman whom he married, and representing the latter in the act of gazing on her rival with looks of scorn. Baruffaldi and other Ferrarese prefer this painting before that of the Sistine chapel, in point of grace and colouring; concerning which, the piece having been retouched, we can form no certain opinion. There is, moreover, the testimony of Barotti, the describer of the Ferrarese paintings, who, at page 40, complains, that "while formerly those figures appeared like living flesh, they now seem of wood." But other proofs of Filippi's colouring are not wanting at Ferrara; where, in many of his untouched pictures, he appears to much advantage; except that in his fleshes he was greatly addicted to a sun-burnt colour; and often, for the union of his colours, he overshadowed in a peculiar taste the whole of his painting.

Besides this, his masterpiece, Filippi produced a great number of other pictures at Ferrara, in whose Guide he is more frequently mentioned than any artist, except Scarsellino. Where he represented naked figures, as in his grand S. Cristofano at the Certosa, he adhered to Michelangiolo; in his draped figures he followed other models; which [Pg 318]is perceptible in that Circumcision in an altar of the cathedral, which might rather be attributed to his father than to him. Being impatient, both in regard to invention and to painting, he often repeated the same things; as he did in one of his Annunciations, reproduced at least seven times, almost invariably with the same ideas. What is worse, if we except the foregoing Judgment, his large altar-piece of St. Catharine, in that church, with a few other public works, he conducted no pieces without losing himself either in one part or other; satisfied with stamping upon each some commanding trait, as if to exhibit himself as a fine but careless painter to the eyes of posterity. There are few of his specimens in collections, but these are more exactly finished. Of these, without counting those of Ferrara, I have seen a Baptism of Christ in Casa Acqua at Osimo, and several copies from Michelangiolo at Rome. Early in life he painted grotesques, but subsequently employed in such labours, Cesare, his younger brother, a very excellent ornamental painter, though feeble in great figures and in histories.

Contemporary with, and rival of Filippi, was Sigismondo Scarsella, popularly called by the Ferrarese Mondino, a name he has ever since retained. Instructed during three years in the school of Paul Veronese, and afterwards remaining for thirteen at Venice, engaged in studying its best models along with the rules of architecture, he at length returned to Ferrara, well practised in the [Pg 319]Paolesque style, but at considerable distance as a disciple. If we except his Visitation at S. Croce, fine figures and full of action, we meet with nothing more by him in the last published Guide of Ferrara. The city possesses other of his works, some in private, some retouched in such a manner that they are no more the same, while several are doubtful, and most commonly attributed to his son. This is the celebrated Ippolito, called, in distinction from his father, Lo Scarsellino, by whom singly there are more pictures interspersed throughout those churches, than by many combined artists. After acquiring the first rudiments from Sigismondo, he resided almost six years at Venice, studying the best masters, and in particular Paul Veronese. His fellow-citizens call him the Paul of their school, I suppose on account of his Nativity of the Virgin at Cento, his S. Bruno, in the Ferrarese Certosa, and other paintings more peculiarly Paolesque; but his character is different. He seems the reformer of the paternal taste; his conceptions more beautiful, his tints more attractive; while some believe that he influenced the manner of Sigismondo, and directed him in his career. On comparison with Paul it is clear that his style is derived from that source, but that his own was different, being composed of the Venetian and the Lombard, of native and foreign, the offspring of an intellect well founded in the theory of the art, of a gay and animated fancy, of a hand if not always equal to itself, always prompt, spirited, [Pg 320]and rapid. Hence we see a great number of his productions in different cities of Lombardy and Romagna, to say nothing of his native place.

There, his pictures of the Assumption and the Nuptials of Cana, at the Benedettini; the Pietà, and the S. John Beheaded, in that church; with the Noli me tangere, at S. Niccolo, are among the most celebrated; also at the Oratorio della Scala, his Pentecost, his Annunciation, and his Epiphany, conducted in competition with the Presentation of Annibal Caracci; of all which there are seen, on a small scale, a number of repetitions or copies in private houses. They are to be met with too at Rome, where Scarsellino's paintings are not rare. Some are at the Campidoglio, and at the palaces of the Albani, Borghesi, Corsini, and in greater number at the Lancellotti. I have sometimes examined them in company with professors who never ceased to extol them. They recognised various imitations of Paul Veronese in the inventions, and the copiousness; of Parmigianino in the lightness and grace of the figures: of Titian in the fleshes, and particularly in a Bacchanal in Casa Albani; of Dossi and Carpi in his strength of colour, in those fiery yellows, in those deep rose-colours, in that bright tinge given also to the clouds and to the air. What sufficiently distinguishes him too, are a few extremely graceful countenances, which he drew from two of his daughters; a light shading which envelopes the whole of his objects without obscuring them, and [Pg 321]that slightness of design which borders almost on the dry, in opposition, perhaps, to that of Bastiano Filippi, sometimes reproached with exhibiting coarse and heavy features.

Ippolito's school, according to Baruffaldi, produced no other pupil of merit except Camillo Ricci, a young artist who, Scarsellino declared, would have surpassed himself, and whom, had he appeared a little later, he would have selected for his own master. From a pupil, however, he became Scarsellino's assistant, who instructed him so well in his manner, that the most skilful had difficulty to distinguish him from Ippolito. His style is almost as tender and attractive as his master's, the union of his colours is even more equal, and has more repose, and he is principally distinguished by less freedom of hand, and by his folding, which is less natural and more minute. His fertile invention appears to most advantage in the church of S. Niccolò, whose entablature is divided into eighty-four compartments, the whole painted by Camillo with different histories of the holy bishop. His picture of Margherita, also at the cathedral, is extremely beautiful, and might be referred to Scarsellino himself. His smaller paintings chiefly adorn the noble house of Trotti, which abounds with them; and there too is his own portrait, as large as life, representing Genius naked, seated before his pallet with his pencil in hand, surrounded by musical books, and implements of sculpture and architecture, arts to which he was [Pg 322]wholly devoted. Among the pupils of Ippolito, Barotti enumerates also Lana, a native of Codigoro, in the Ferrarese, though I leave him to the state of Modena, where he flourished. Cittadella also mentions Ercole Sarti, called the mute of Ficarolo, a place in the Ferrarese. Instructed by signs he produced for his native place, and at the Quadrella sul Mantovano, some pictures nearly resembling the style of Scarsellino, except that the outline is more marked, and the countenances less beautiful. He was also a good portrait painter, and was employed by the nobility at Ferrara as well as for the churches. There is mentioned, in the Guide, an altar-piece in the sacristy of S. Silvestro, and the author is extolled as a successful imitator both of Scarsellino and of Bononi.

Contemporary with the Filippi and the Scarsellini is Giuseppe Mazzuoli, more commonly called Bastaruolo, or, as it means in Ferrara, the vender of corn, an occupation of his father's, not his own. He is at once a learned, graceful, and correct artist, probably a pupil of Surchi, whom he succeeded in painting for the entablature of the Gesù some histories left unfinished by the death of his predecessor. Mazzuoli was not so well skilled in perspective as in other branches. He injured his rising reputation by designing some figures in too large proportion, owing to which, added to his slowness, he became proverbial among his rivals, and considered by many as an artist of mediocrity. Yet his merit was sufficiently marked, particularly after [Pg 323]the formation of his second manner, more elevated in design, as well as more studied in its colouring. The foundation of his taste is drawn from the Dossi; in force of chiaroscuro, and in his heads he would seem to have owed his education to Parma; in the natural colour of his fleshes, more particularly at the extremities, he approaches Titian; and from the Venetians too seem to have been derived those varying tints and golden hues, introduced into his draperies. The church of Gesù contains, besides two medallions of histories, admirably composed, an Annunciation and a Crucifixion, both very beautiful altar-pieces. The Ascension at the Cappuccini, conducted for a princess of the Estense family, is a magnificent piece, while an altar-piece of the titular saint, with half figures of virgins that seem to breathe, at the Zitelle of S. Barbara, is extremely beautiful. Several other pieces, both in public and private, are met with at Ferrara. Mazzuoli was drowned, while bathing for his health, at that place; an artist every way worthy of a better fate, and of being more generally known beyond the limits of his own country.

Domenico Mona (a name thus read by Baruffaldi from his tomb, though by others called Monio, Moni, and Monna,) attached himself to the art after trying many other professions, ecclesiastical, medical, and legal. He possessed great fervour and richness of imagination, learning, and rapidity of hand. Instructed by Bastaruolo, he soon became a painter, and exhibited his pieces in public. [Pg 324]But not yet founded in technical rules, monotonous in his heads, hard in his folding, and unfinished in his figures, he was ill adapted to please a city already accustomed to behold the most finished productions at every step, so as no longer to relish any thing like mediocrity or inferiority of hand. Mona then applied with fresh diligence to the art, and corrected, at least, some of his more glaring faults. From that time he was more readily employed by his fellow citizens, though his works were by no means equally approved. Some, however, were good, such as the two Nativities at S. Maria in Vado, one of which represented the Virgin, the other the Divine Child; both displaying a taste of colouring nearly resembling the Florentine of that period, here and there mingled with a Venetian tone. The best of all, however, is his Deposition from the Cross, placed in the Sagrestia Capitolare of the cathedral. A number of others only approach mediocrity, though still pleasing by their spirit, and a general effect which proclaims superior genius. Even his colouring, when he studied it, is calculated to attract by its warmth and vividness, though not very natural. A few of his works are in such bad taste as to have induced his pupil, Jacopo Bambini, out of compassion, to retouch them; and Baruffaldi also notices this singular inequality. For, after greatly extolling his Deposition from the Cross, he adds: "It must surprise the spectator to contrast this with his other pieces, nor can he reconcile how he should [Pg 325]possess such capacity, and yet show such indifference for his own fame." All, however, is explained when we know that he was naturally subject to insanity, of which he finally became the victim, and having slain a courtier of the Card. Aldobrandino, he ended his days in banishment from his native place. By some, however, the deed was attributed, not to insanity, but to hatred of the new government; and in fact, so far from acting like a madman, he concealed himself, first in the state, and next at the court of Modena. Finally, he sought refuge in that of Parma, where he is declared to have produced pieces, during a short period, in his best taste. Orlandi calls him Domenico Mora, and has extolled his two large pictures of the Conversion and the Martyrdom of St. Paul, which adorn the presbytery of that church at Ferrara. He moreover adds, that he flourished in 1570, for which date I am inclined to substitute that of 1580, as it is known that he commenced the practice of the art late in life, and died, aged fifty-two years, in 1602.

From his school is supposed to have sprung Gaspero Venturini, who completed his education under Bernardo Castelli, in Genoa. This, however, is mere conjecture, founded on the style of Gaspero, which, in point of colouring, partakes of that ideal taste so pleasing to Castelli, to Vasari, Fontana, Galizia, and others of the same period; nor was Mona himself free from it. Jacopo Bambini, whom we have before commended, and Giulio [Pg 326]Cromer, commonly called Croma, were assuredly from the school of Mona, though they acquired little from it. Subsequently they became more correct designers by studying from the naked model in the academy, which they were the first to open at Ferrara, and from the best antiques which they possessed in their native place—an art in which they attained singular excellence. Nor were they destitute of invention; and to Cromer was allotted the honour of painting the Presentation and the Death of the Virgin, at the Scala; a fraternity, which, previous to its suppression, was regarded as a celebrated gallery, decorated by superior artists. Bambini had studied also in Parma, whence he brought back with him a careful and solid style; and, if he sometimes displayed the colouring of Mona, he corrected its hardness, and excluded its capriciousness. This artist was assiduously employed at the Gesù, in Ferrara, and in that at Mantua. Croma was a painter of high reputation, and much inclined to the study of architecture, which he introduces in rather an ostentatious manner in nearly all his pictures. In other respects he more resembles Bambini than Mona, invariably studied, ruddy in his complexions, somewhat loaded in all his tints, and the whole composition sufficiently characteristic to be easily distinguished. He may be well appreciated in his large histories of the saint at St. Andrea, near the chief altar, and in several pictures belonging to the minor altars. Superbi, in his Apparato, describes [Pg 327]one Gio. Andrea Ghirardoni as an able artist. He left some respectable works, but coloured in a languid, feeble style, with more of the effect of chiaroscuro than of painting. The names of Bagnacavallo, Rossetti, Provenzali da Cento, and others belonging to the Ferrarese state, who properly appertain to this epoch, have been already described under other schools.

[Pg 328]



The Artists of Ferrara borrow different styles from the Bolognese School.—Decline of the Art, and an Academy instituted in its support.

Such, as just described, was the degree of excellence to which the pictoric art arrived under the Esti, whose dominion over Ferrara terminated in the person of Alfonso II., who died in 1597. These princes beheld nearly all the classic styles of Italy transferred into their own capital by classic imitators, which no other potentates could boast. They had their Raffaello, their Bonarruoti, their Coreggio, their Titian, and their Paul Veronese. Their memory yet affords an example to the world; because, like true citizens of their country, they fostered its genius, the love of letters, and all the arts of design. The change of government occurred in the pontificate of Clement VIII. for whose solemn entry into the place the artists Scarsellino and Mona were employed about the public festivals; being selected as the ablest hands, equal to achieve much in a short space of time. Various other painters were subsequently employed, in particular Bambini and Croma, who were to copy different select altar-pieces of the [Pg 329]city, which the court of Rome was desirous of transferring into the capital; leaving the copies only at Ferrara, to the general regret of the Ferrarese historians. Subsequently the Card. Aldobrandini, nephew to the Pope, was there established as legate; a foreigner indeed, but much attached to the fine arts. Like other foreigners, he was more bent upon purchasing the works of old masters, than upon cultivating a genius for painting among the citizens. The same feeling may, for the most part, be supposed to have influenced his successors; since, about 1650, Cattanio, as we read in his life, ascribed the decline of the art to its want of patrons, and induced Card. Pio, a Ferrarese, to allot pensions to young artists, to enable them to study at Bologna and at Rome. But such temporary aids afforded no lasting support to the school, so that if the others of Italy were greatly deteriorated during this last century, that of Ferrara became almost extinct. It may, therefore, boast greater credit for having retrieved itself under less favourable circumstances, and for having continued so long to emulate the most distinguished originals.

About the beginning of the seventeenth century, when the new civil government commenced at Ferrara, a new epoch also occurred in its pictoric school, which I call that of the Caracci. I can furnish no account respecting that Pietro da Ferrara, mentioned by Malvasia, along with Schedone, among the pupils of Lodovico Caracci. I have [Pg 330]no where met with his name in any other work. Dismissing him, therefore, I may award the chief station in this epoch to two able artists, who acquired the taste, without entering into the academy of the Caracci. These were Bonone of the city of Ferrara, and Guercino belonging to the state; of whom, as residing so long with his school at Bologna, I have there written what need not here be repeated. They were succeeded by other painters in the Legation, nearly the whole of them pupils of Caracci's followers, or again of their disciples; insomuch, that what now remains of the Ferrarese School, is almost a continuation of that of Bologna. It is the crowning glory of the Ferrarese to have boasted superior emulators of the final school of Italy, as they had of all the preceding. But it is now time to proceed to the particulars.

Carlo Bonone, called by the admirable Cochin invariably Bourini, was pupil to Bastaruolo. On being deprived of his master, he continued to exercise his acquired manner; but he subsequently inclined to the strong, to contrast of light and shadow, and to the difficult parts of composition, more than any other contemporary Ferrarese. I suspect that, despairing of competing in grace with Scarsellino, he intended to oppose him by a more robust and enlarged manner. Nor had he far to seek for it, while the Caracci flourished in Bologna. He left his native place; and perhaps passing through that city, he conceived the first [Pg 331]idea of his new style. Arrived at Rome, he there continued above two years designing the beautiful from nature in the academy, and out of it from the works of art; and then returned to Bologna. Here he remained a year, "until he had mastered the character and colouring of the Caracci, and devoted himself exclusively to the principles and practice thus adopted, entirely renouncing all other manners." Thus states Baruffaldi; and adds, that he resided also at Venice, whence he departed more confounded than instructed, with the fixed intention of never in the least departing from the Caraccesque manner. He went also to Parma, and saw the works of Coreggio, according to some, though without departing from his maxim. What progress he made in the path thus selected, may be easily gathered from the opinions of experienced Bolognese, contained in different histories, who, on examining one of his works, ascribed it, without hesitation, to Lodovico Caracci; and it is also to be inferred from the public voice, which extols him as the Caracci of Ferrara.

This mistake is apt to be made in those compositions with few figures, rather than in his large histories. In the former his dignity of design is calculated to deceive us; as well as the conception and attitudes of his heads of men, the form and fulness, the fall and folding of the drapery, the choice and distribution of the colours, and the general tone which in some works, more correctly conducted, greatly resemble the Bolognese style. But in his [Pg 332]compositions on a grand scale, he does not closely imitate the Caracci, always sparing in their figures, and anxious to make them conspicuous by a certain disposition peculiarly their own; but rather follows the Venetians, and adopts methods to multiply the personages on the scene. The grand Suppers which he painted (of a few of which we have engravings by Bolzoni) might be almost pronounced from the genius of Paul Veronese, so greatly do they abound with perspective, stages, and staircases; so thronged is every situation with actors and spectators. His Herod's Feast, at S. Benedetto, is much celebrated, as well as the Marriage of Cana, at the Certosini, at S. Maria in Vado, and other places in Ferrara, but, in particular, his Supper of Ahasuerus, in the refectory of the Canonici Regolari of S. Giovanni, at Ravenna. The canvass is large, as well as the vestibule which fills it, while the multitudes which there appear, thronged together, is excessive; guests, spectators, domestics, musical choirs and companies in the balconies, and in a recess, through which is seen the garden, appear other tables surrounded by guests, with so beautiful an illusion of aerial perspective, as at once to relieve and to gratify the eye with infinite variety. There is as much diversity also in the attitudes, novelty of drapery, richness of plate, &c., of which it seems impossible to finish the inspection. A few figures too are more studied, such as that of Ahasuerus, of the master of [Pg 333]the feast, and of a kneeling page, in the act of presenting the royal crown to the king. To these add several of the singers, which rivet the eye by their respective dignity, vivacity, or grace. In no other work did Bonone succeed equally well in captivating others and in pleasing his own taste.

Yet the church of S. Maria in Vado boasts so great a number of his paintings on the walls, so many in the vault and in the ceiling, conducted too with so perfect a knowledge of foreshortening, that, in order to estimate the vastness of his talents, we ought to see that magnificent temple itself. When Guercino left Cento for Ferrara, he used there to spend hours devoted only to the contemplation of Bonone. I find mention that, for such productions, "he was elevated even to a competition with Coreggio and the Caracci," and he assuredly adhered much to that method, designing accurately, modelling his figures in wax, arranging the foldings, and exhibiting them to a nocturnal light to examine their best effect, which he aimed at even more than the Caracci. Still I have too great deference for public opinion, which acknowledges no rivals to these noble masters, though they had imitators; and I have heard judges express a wish for more constant accuracy of design, choice in his heads, stronger union of colours, and a better method of laying on his grounds, than they find in Bonone. Notwithstanding similar exceptions, however, this artist stands as one of [Pg 334]the very first, after the Caracci. Though inferior in age, he could not be called inferior in merit, to Scarsellino; and the city, divided into parties, could not agree to award the palm either to the elder or to the younger. They pursued different manners; each was eminent in his own, and when they came into competition each exerted his utmost industry not to be outshone, which left the victory still doubtful. There were a few years ago at the Scala, and are yet at other places, a number of these rival productions, and it is wonderful to see how Bonone, accustomed so much to fill his canvass on a large scale, can adapt his genius, equal to any, to study and refinement, even painting his figures of small proportion almost in the style of miniature, in order that Scarsellino, in these ornaments of the cabinet, should not excite greater admiration than himself. Different collections, and particularly that of the noble Bevilacqua, possess fine specimens of him; in public is his Martyrdom of St. Catherine, in that church, a real treasure, much sought for by foreigners, who have frequently offered for it large sums without success.

No disciple of Bonone's school acquired much celebrity, and, least of any, Lionello, nephew to Carlo, and his heir. He was indebted to his uncle for his knowledge of the art, but could never be induced to practise it with diligence. What he has left was either executed with Carlo's assistance, and from his designs, or is of very middling [Pg 335]merit. Others, who had successfully attained the manner of this master, died young, as Gio. Batista della Torre, born at Rovigo, and Camillo Berlinghieri, both artists of genius and highly estimated in collections. Some early pieces of great promise adorn the church of S. Niccolo, where the former painted the vaulted ceiling, but on some defect in the work being pointed out by the master, he refused to complete it, and setting out in anger for Venice he there took up his residence, and shortly came to an untimely end. By the second was painted the picture of the Manna, at S. Niccolo, besides several others throughout the city, and a few also at Venice, where he obtained the name of the Ferraresino, and where he died before completing his fortieth year.

The highest reputation was obtained by Alfonso Rivarola, likewise called, from some property left to him, Il Chenda. On his master's death he was proposed, as the most familiar with his style, by Guido Reni, to complete an unfinished work of Bonone. At S. Maria in Vado is the Marriage of the Virgin, sketched by Bonone, and which Chenda painted, Lionello having declined to venture upon such a task. This picture has a powerful rival in one of Bonone's, placed opposite to it, though it still displays a hand not unworthy of following that of Bonone. His fellow citizens entertained the same opinion of his other early efforts, such as the Baptism of the Saint, exhibited in a temple of noble architecture at S. Agostino, in a [Pg 336]style of foreshortening that displays a master. His Fables, too, from Guarini and Tasso, conducted in the Villa Trotti, as well as the pictures yet belonging to the same nobles, and to different houses in the city, are held in esteem. But he executed little for churches and collections, aiming more at popular admiration, which he obtained by exercising at once the office of architect and of painter at public festivals, and in particular at tournaments, then so very prevalent in Italy. One of these, which he conducted at Bologna, laid the foundation of his early decease. Either he met with little applause, and took it to heart, or, according to others, had such success as to lead to his being carried off by poison. Thus, in few years, Carlo Bonone's school approached its close, not without leaving, however, numerous works which, owing to their uniform style, are now attributed generally to the school, not in particular to any artist.

I reserved for the series of the Caracci the name of Francesco Naselli, a Ferrarese noble, though stated by some to have been initiated in the art by Bastaruolo. This, however, is uncertain; it is only known that he designed from the naked model with assiduity in an academy opened in conjunction with his efforts, at Ferrara; and that going thence to Bologna, he took copies of various works by the Caracci and by their disciples. In the churches of his native place, and in private cabinets, numerous proofs of these studies are met with, the most [Pg 337]laborious of which are two miracles of St. Benedict, copied in the cloister of S. Michele in Bosco, and now placed at S. Giorgio of the Olivetani in Ferrara. Of these, one is borrowed from Lodovico, the other from Guido; but preferred to both is his Communion of S. Girolamo, which decorates the Certosa, a copy from the original by Agostino. Guercino also was one of his favourites; of his he copied every thing he could meet with, having selected him, after the Caracci, for his first guide. By such practice Francesco succeeded in designing and painting with good success in his own manner, on a large scale, animated, soft, with rapid execution and strong union of colours, inclining in those of his fleshes to a sun-burnt hue. Of his own design is the S. Francesca Romana at the Olivetani, the Assumption at S. Francesco, several Suppers, abounding in figures, belonging to private institutions, five of which are in the Cistercian monastery. He likewise painted at the Scala in competition with one of the Caracci, with Bonone, and with Scarsellino. Nor was he judged unworthy of them; and at the sale of those valuable paintings for the relief of the Hospital, in 1772, considerable prices were offered for his productions. Although noble, and in easy circumstances, he never ceased to persevere, and it would appear that he was desirous of promoting the success of one of his domestics in the same art. Crespi declares that he had read a statement, showing Alessandro Naselli to be the son of Francesco, but, according [Pg 338]to historians, he was an artist of mediocrity, the omission of whose works will scarcely be any loss to my readers.

It is here necessary to interrupt for a moment our series of the Caracci's disciples, to make mention of two geniuses, who also became painters, like Naselli, but in the Venetian taste. Gio. Paolo Grazzini, one of Bonone's best friends, professed the goldsmith's art, and it was owing only to his bias for painting, imbibed from Bonone and other contemporaries, that he acquired its principles in familiar conversation. Eager to put them to the test, he commenced his altar-piece of S. Eligio, for the Goldsmith's School. It occupied him eight years in its completion, but it was executed in such a masterly style as alone to decide his excellence, approaching quite as nearly as any to the manner of Pordenone. Being then about fifty years of age, it excited the utmost surprise throughout Ferrara, yet he still persevered, and conducted some minor pieces, which decorate private buildings, in the same taste. So rare an example, or rather one so wholly novel, appeared to me well worth historical mention. Somewhat at a later period Giuseppe Caletti, called il Cremonese, came into notice. He acquired the art rather from the models of the Dossi, and of Titian, than from masters, imitating not only their manner of design, but their colouring, which is so difficult. He contrived also to imitate that antique tone which time gives to paintings, and thus adds to their harmony. [Pg 339]He painted a good deal for collections, such as half-length figures, bacchanals, and small histories. Baruffaldi recognized several in some noble galleries at Bologna, and has been compelled to argue the point with judges, who maintained that they were Titian's. He farther relates, that an excellent pupil of Pietro da Cortona purchased a great number, at a high price, at Ferrara, being confident of reselling them at Rome for Titian's, or at least for works of his school. In Ferrara, which is filled with his pictures, it is difficult to succeed in these impostures. He is there distinguished by fleshes of a sun-burnt hue, by certain bold lights, strengthened by contrast with somewhat loaded shadows, by the fleeciness of his clouds, and by other careless and ill-conducted accessories. Often too the extravagance of the composition betrays the real author, when, for instance, in a bacchanal, much resembling Titian, there is inserted a chase, or some modern sport, which is like representing wild boars in the sea, or dolphins in the woods. In a similar manner are his other fine qualities impaired for want of judgment, without which no artist is well calculated for the decoration of churches. In that of S. Benedict, however, his four Holy Doctors, on an altar, are seen to advantage; and upon another his admirable St. Mark, a grand and correct figure, full of expression, and very picturesquely surrounded by abundance of volumes, in whose drawing he is so true and natural, as to have been called the painter of [Pg 340]books. Having completed this work, il Cremonese disappeared out of the city, nor were farther tidings heard of him, although some writers conjecture that he died about 1660.

Returning to the disciples of the Bolognese, the first deserving of mention here is Costanzo Cattanio, a pupil of Guido. His portrait, both on canvass and in prints, I have seen, and it has always a threatening kind of expression. That martial, or bravo character, affected by so many artists about the times of Caravaggio, also misled this excellent genius from the right career. At times Costanzo was an exile, now at open defiance, and now wholly occupied in shielding his protectors, who never ventured out unarmed, from dread of their rivals, and to whom he pledged himself that they should not be assassinated in his presence. When he applied himself to his art his peculiar disposition appeared stamped on the expression of his figures. The characters whom he was most fond of introducing into his histories were soldiers and bullies, whose fierce aspects seemed but ill adapted to the soft style of his master. These, and many other ideas, he borrowed from the prints of Durer, and Luca of Holland, which he reduced to his own diligent and studied manner, particularly in his heads and his steel armours. Although attached to strong expression, and borrowing something from the other schools of Italy which he saw, he nevertheless at times betrays sure traces of Guido's school. Thus, in his S. Antonio, painted [Pg 341]for the parish church of Corlo, and in our Lord's Supper, which he placed in the refectory of S. Silvestro, and in every other instance when he aimed at the Guidesque, he succeeded to admiration.

Another Ferrarese, Antonio Buonfanti, called il Torricella, is said to have sprung from the school of Guido, though Baruffaldi is silent on this point. Two large scripture histories by him are at S. Francesco; but there are few other paintings or accounts of him at Ferrara; and he seems to have taken up his residence elsewhere. It is certain that the young artists who succeed this period are all ascribed to the school of Cattanio. Such are Francesco Fantozzi, called Parma, Carlo Borsati, Alessandro Naselli, Camillo Setti, artists who scarcely awaken the curiosity of their countrymen. Giuseppe Avanzi is more known by his very numerous works, for the most part confused, and painted almost at a sitting. He is described more like an artisan bent on earning good wages by his day's labour. His picture of St. John beheaded, however, at the Certosa, is extremely Guercinesque; and some others on canvass and on copper, which he retouched and studied a good deal, do him great credit.

But Cattanio's chief praise consists in his education of Gio. Bonatti, and in his recommendation of him to Card. Pio, who greatly assisted him, by placing him first at Bologna under Guercino, afterwards under Mola at Rome. He long supported him also at Venice, studying the heads of that [Pg 342]school; besides defraying his pictoric tours through Lombardy, and giving him the custody of his paintings at court. In fact, he bestowed upon him such favours that the public, considering him as the dependant of that prince, always termed him Giovannino del Pio. At Rome he was esteemed among the best of his age; select, diligent, learned in the different styles of Italian schools; the view of which, during his picturesque tour, he declared was highly advantageous to him. And true it is that the painter, like the writer, is formed by the study of great models; but the one may behold them all collected in the same library, while the other has to seek them in different cities, and in every city to study them at different places. At Rome his only public works are a picture at the church dell'Anima, a history of S. Carlo at the Vallicella, and an altar-piece of S. Bernardo, at the Cisterciensi, highly commended in the Guide of Rome. The rest of his works, and they are but few, belong to private persons; his health declining at the age of thirty-five, he lingered eleven years afterwards, and died at Rome.

Lanfranco likewise supplied a pupil to this school, called by Passeri, Antonio Richieri, a Ferrarese. He followed his master to Naples and Rome, where he painted at the Teatini after the designs of Lanfranco:—the sole information I have been enabled to collect respecting his paintings. I am well aware that he devoted himself to engraving, as we learn also from Passeri, and that [Pg 343]at Naples he engraved an altar-piece by his master, which was rejected by the person who gave the commission for it. There is more known of Clemente Maiola, whom the Ferrarese assert to be their fellow-citizen and pupil to Cortona. He conducted many works at Ferrara; one of S. Nicola supported by an angel, in the church of S. Giuseppe. He is moreover mentioned as a fine pupil of Pietro, in the Notizie of M. Alboddo, for works there extant. Titi gives account of others left in Rome at the Rotonda and in other temples; but he differs respecting his master, declaring that he was instructed by Romanelli.

Meanwhile Cignani's academy rose into notice, owing to its master's reputation, and among those who repaired thither from Ferrara were Maurelio Scannavini and Giacomo Parolini. Maurelio must be included among the few whose object was to emulate their master in that scrupulous exactness, which we noticed in its place. He was naturally slow, nor could he prevail on himself to despatch his work from the studio until he beheld it already complete in all its points. Though impelled by domestic penury to greater haste, he varied not his method; and, free from envy, beheld the rapidity of Avanzi, who abounded with commissions and money, whilst he and his family were destitute. The noble house of Bevilacqua assisted him much; and it redounds to its honour, that on remunerating him for some figures in an apartment where Aldrovandini had conducted the architecture, [Pg 344]a very large sum was added to the price agreed upon. He produced few other pieces in fresco; a process that requires artists of more rapid hand. He painted more in oil; among the most esteemed of which is his S. Tommaso di Villanova, at the Agostiniani Scalzi; and at the church of the Mortara his St. Bridget in a swoon, supported by angels. The families of Bevilacqua, Calcagnini, Rondinelli, and Trotti, possess some of his pictures for private ornament; among which are portraits that display Maurelio's singular talent in this branch; and histories of half-length figures in the manner of Cignani. They exhibit gracefulness, union of colouring, and strength of tints, which leave him nothing to envy in the artists by whom he is surrounded, except their fortune.

Giacomo Parolini, pupil to the Cav. Peruzzini in Turin, afterwards to Cignani at Bologna, was present at Maurelio's decease, and completed a few works left imperfect, out of regard to his friend, and for the relief of his orphan family. He did not possess that true finish peculiar to the followers of Cignani; though he still maintained the reputation of his second school, by the elegance of his design, the propriety and copiousness of his composition, and his very attractive colouring, particularly in the fleshes. Aware of his own power in this difficult part of painting, he is fond of introducing into his pieces the naked figure, more especially of boys, from the proportions of which judges are enabled to recognize their author. His bacchanals, [Pg 345]his Albanesque country-dances, his capricci, are all of such frequent occurrence at Ferrara, as to render it more easy to enumerate the collections in want of them, than those where they are. Foreigners also possess specimens; and there are engravings in acqua forte by the designer's own hand. His picture of the Cintura, representing the Virgin among various saints, nearly all of the order of St. Augustine, a piece engraved by Andrea Bolzoni, is held in much esteem. Nor are the three altar-pieces in the cathedral unworthy of notice; and in particular the entablature of S. Sebastiano at Verona, which greatly raised his reputation, representing the saint in the act of mounting into glory, amidst groups of angels; a beautiful and well executed work. Parolini is the last among the figurists whose life was written at length by Baruffaldi; the last, also, on whose tomb was inscribed the eulogy of a good painter. With him was buried for a season the reputation of Ferrarese painting in Italy.

The author of the "Catalogue," in the fourth volume has collected the names and drawn up the lives of certain other painters, interspersing several episodes. Concerning these figurists, little else is related than mere failures and misfortunes. For instance, Gio. Francesco Braccioli, pupil to Crespi, though promising well in some of his works for galleries, subsequently fell into infirmity of mind; one lost his taste for the profession; another cultivated the art with remissness, or only [Pg 346]as a dilettante; a third produced some tolerable efforts, but was mostly extravagant; one had genius and died early; another long life without a spark of talent. Meanwhile, this dearth of native artists was for some years supplied by Gio. Batista Cozza, from the Milanese; a painter of a copious, easy, and regulated style. Not that he was invariably correct, though very popular, and when he pleased satisfying even judges of the art; as in that picture representing different SS. Serviti, in the church called di Cà Bianca.

After him appeared the modern artists, who now enjoy deserved reputation in the academy of Ferrara, which, owing to the particular patronage of his eminence Card. Riminaldi, has recently risen into distinguished notice. With the name of this noble citizen and of the professors whom he himself selected and promoted, future writers will doubtless commence a fourth epoch of painting. By him the academy was supplied with laws, and took its established form. To his care and munificence several young artists were indebted for their residence at Rome, and all the rest for the benefit of a well regulated institution at Ferrara. He also did much for the cause of letters in the university. But this is not the place to give an account of it; and his merits, commended as they are to posterity in numerous books and monuments, and impressed on the hearts of his grateful fellow citizens, are not likely soon to fall into oblivion.

[Pg 347]It remains to speak of other kinds of painting, and it will be best to commence with perspective. After this art had assumed a new aspect at Bologna, and spread through Italy, as already stated, it was introduced by Francesco Ferrari, born near Rovigo, into Ferrara. He had been instructed in figure painting by a Frenchman, and afterwards became professor of architectural and ornamental painting under Gabriel Rossi, the Bolognese, of whose name, to say nothing of his style, I find no traces left at Bologna. To those who had the means of comparing the manners of these two artists, it appeared that Francesco did not equal him in the dignity of his architecture, but surpassed him in strength and durability of colouring, and in that relief so attractive in these performances. Moreover, he had a considerable advantage over his master, in his knowledge of appropriately painting histories. The Dispute of S. Cirillo is still to be seen, and the Rain granted to the Prayer of Elias, in the church of S. Paolo: pictures, observes Baruffaldi, which rivet the eye. Other proofs of his genius for history pieces are met with at the Carmine and at S. Giorgio, but still they yield to his architectural labours, which may be said to have formed his trade. He worked also for theatres, and in different Italian cities, and in the service of Leopold I. at Vienna. Being constrained to leave Germany on account of his health, he returned to Ferrara, and there opened school.

Among his pupils were Mornassi, Grassaleoni, [Pg 348]Paggi, Raffanelli, Giacomo Filippi, and one who surpassed all the rest, Antonfelice Ferrari, his son. This artist did not attempt figures, but confined himself to architecture, in which he added to the somewhat minute style of his father, a magnificence well adapted to attract the public eye. He was employed with success in the Calcagnini palace, in that of the Sacrati, Fieschi, and in other private and public places in Ferrara, as well as at Venice, Ravenna, and elsewhere. Suffering much however in health by painting in fresco, and on this account being reduced to live with less comfort, he conceived such aversion for the art, that on making his will he enjoined that his son was to forfeit his inheritance if he ever became a fresco painter. Some of his pupils therefore succeeded him, among whom Giuseppe Facchinetti most distinguished himself. He painted at S. Caterina da Siena and other places, at once in a delicate and sound style, and is almost reputed the Mitelli of his school. Maurelio Goti of Ferrara nearly approached his style, not without marks of plagiarism. From the same country and school was Girolamo Mengozzi Colonna, who became a long resident at Venice. He accompanied the figures of Zompini with ornamental work at the church of the Tolentini, and those of Tiepolo at the Scalzi; and conducted the architecture in the ducal palace and elsewhere. Zanetti, in his Guide, mentions his name as above; but, in his "Pittura Veneziana," (thirty-eight years afterwards) he calls [Pg 349]him Colonna Mengozzi, and a native of Tivoli. Guarienti extols him as the first architectural and ornamental painter of his time.

The art of landscape painting, which, after the age of the Dossi, had almost fallen into disuse at Ferrara, was revived there by some foreigners. Giulio Avellino, called, from his native place, the Messinese, resided some time in this city, and died there at the beginning of the century. He had been pupil to Salvator Rosa, whose style he somewhat softened, and richly ornamented with views of ruins and architecture, as well as with some small and well composed figures. The Signori Cremona and Donati possess select specimens; and there is scarcely a collection in Ferrara or Romagna which does not value itself on possessing them. After him appeared Giuseppe Zola, born, according to Crespi, at Brescia, a landscape painter, of a taste devoted to no single master, but formed upon many. He was exceedingly rich in conception and in expedients; his buildings are of a rustic kind; his ruins partake of the modern, and are picturesquely covered with creeping plants and ivy; the backgrounds of an azure hue, and great variety of objects and figures, in which he was less happy than in his landscape. His earlier works are held in most esteem; when he obtained greater commissions, he performed them with a more mechanical hand, and, with the exception of his colouring, which he always studied, he bestowed little care on the rest. Those pictures are in general [Pg 350]most complete, in which he introduced the smallest figures; and such may be seen even out of private houses, in the Monte della Pietà, and in the sacristy of S. Leonardo. He formed several pupils, the best of whom was Girolamo Gregori. Instructed as a figurist by Parolini, and afterwards by Gioseffo dal Sole, he failed for want of perseverance, except very rarely, in greater works. Yet he produced many, and his landscapes have been highly extolled. The same may be observed of Avanzi, mentioned by us shortly before; who, in addition to his very pleasing landscapes on canvass and on copper, surpassed all his fellow citizens in the drawing of flowers and fruits.

An invention, finally deserving of mention, and extremely useful to painting, was made known during this last epoch by a Ferrarese, and afterwards brought to perfection by others. Antonio Contri, son of a Ferrarese lawyer, who, for domestic reasons, had long settled at Rome, and next at Paris, feeling a natural bias for design, practised it in both those cities; but first displayed greater excellence in embroidery than painting. Returning into Italy, and establishing himself at Cremona, he was instructed in landscape by Bassi, in which he was accustomed also to introduce flowers, the branch of painting in which he most distinguished himself. He also succeeded well in perspectives and in animals. His pictures, and those of his son Francesco, who pursued his style, remain at Cremona, Ferrara, and their vicinity; but it was [Pg 351]his new discovery, just alluded to, which obtained a more wide circulation and repute. This is the method of removing from walls to canvass any picture without the least injury to its design or colouring. Various trials of it, during the space of a year, instructed him how to compose a sort of glue, or bitumen, which he spread over a canvass of equal size with the picture he wished to transfer to it. Having applied this to the painting, and beaten it firm with a mallet, he cut the plaister round it, and applied to the canvass a wooden frame well propped, in order that the work might take hold, and come off equal throughout. In a few days he cautiously removed the canvass from the wall, which brought with it the painting; and, having extended it on a smooth table, he applied to the back of it another canvass, varnished with a composition more adhesive than the former. He then placed over the work a quantity of sand, which should equally compress it in all its parts; and, after a week's space, he examined the two pieces of canvass, detached the first by means of warm water, and there then remained on the second the whole painting taken from the wall. He applied this method in different houses of Cremona, for Baruffaldi in Ferrara, and in Mantua for Prince d'Harmstadt, governor of the city; so as to enable him to send some heads, or other works of Giulio Romano, thus removed from the ducal palace, to the emperor. The secret composition of his glue Contri always concealed, but similar attempts [Pg 352]were made about the same period in foreign countries. In the journal of Trevoux it is stated that Louis XV. caused the celebrated painting of St. Michael, by Raffaello, to be removed from its original canvass to a new one, a process which succeeded admirably, for on this last the chinks and creases disappeared which had greatly injured the former.[60] From this account I have been led to doubt whether Contri were really the inventor of this art, as asserted by Ferrarese writers. I say only doubted, since I am unable to judge the question with precision, for want of ascertaining the exact year in which he first applied the method with success. What is indisputable however is, that he was the first who was induced to make such trial of it upon painted walls, and that the plan which he adopted was only of his own invention. But whether he discovered the art, or only the method of applying it, at this period his secret, or something equivalent to it, is pretty well known in Italy. On passing through Imola, I saw, in a private house, two histories of the Life of the Virgin, which had been painted by Cesi in the cathedral of that city, removed thence, and replaced on large new canvass. Had this invention been elicited a few years previously, several of those ancient works might have been preserved, [Pg 353]mention of which is now only to be met with in books, to the regret of every lover of the fine arts.

Here too we must give some account of an exceedingly interesting art, as regards that of painting; an art which, after the lapse of centuries, in some degree re-appeared in Italy, owing chiefly to the exertions of an ingenious Spaniard. He resided many years at Ferrara, and was assisted by the artists there in his experiments and undertakings. Some years before, attempts had been made at Paris to recover the method of painting in caustic, or that which the Greeks and Romans succeeded in by the medium of fire.[61] A few words in Vitruvius and Pliny, and these very obscure in our days, and to which various meanings are given by critics, formed the only chart and compass to direct the inquirer. It was known that wax was employed in ancient painting, much the same as oil in the modern; but how to prepare it, to combine it with the colours, to use it in a liquid state, and how to apply fire to the process until the completion of the work—was the secret to be discovered. Count Caylus, who pursued antiquarian researches less for the sake of history than of the arts, was perhaps the principal promoter of so useful an inquiry. The royal Academy of Inscriptions joined him, and offered a public premium for the discovery of a method of painting in caustic, such as should be found worthy of its approbation. Many [Pg 354]experiments were at this period made; and philology, chemistry, painting, all united in throwing light upon the subject. Among various methods proposed by three academicians, Caylus, Cochin, and Bachiliere, two of them received premiums, though in some measure the same, and both proposed by the last of the three mentioned names. The whole account may be read in the Encyclopedia, under the head of Encaustique. Thenceforward native artists did not fail to make new trials, and practise themselves in pictures all'encausto. One of these, who arrived at Florence in 1780, exhibited to me a head, and some portion of the figure, thus painted by himself. I likewise saw him so employed. He had near him a brazier, on which were placed small pans filled with colours, all of a different body, and mixed with wax, but with what third ingredient I know not; whether salt of tartar, as recommended in the dissertation remunerated at Paris, or some other composition. A second brazier was fixed behind the cartoon or panel on which he painted, in order to preserve it always warm. The work being finished, he went over the whole with a small hair brush, and gave it a clear and vivid glow.

Some there were at that time in Italy who much admired this art. The numerous reliques of ancient painting, preserved free from the effects of time at Naples and at Rome, may be said to exhibit a manifest triumph over modern productions, which so much sooner become aged and fade away. [Pg 355]This it was that induced the Ab. Vincenzo Requeno to publish the book shortly before cited, at Venice, first in 1784. In him were united all the requisite qualities for promoting the new discovery—the learning of a man of letters, experience of an artist, philosophical reasoning, and persevering experiment. His work is in every one's hands, so as to enable them to form an opinion, for this is not the place to enter into a discussion of its various merits. It has been done by the Cav. de Rossi in three extracts from that work, published in the first volume of the "Memorie delle Belle Arti," one of the most brief and at the same time admired journals in Italy. My sole object is to do justice to his singular penetration and industry. He gave a solution of the difficulty mentioned in the Encyclopedia, and discovered a new process. He shewed that salt of tartar was not made use of by the Greeks to dissolve wax, and adapt it to the brush, because they were unacquainted with such a substance; while his own experience convinced him it was useless for the purpose. He knew that the application of fire to the back of the painting was not the method adopted by the Greeks, inasmuch as it was inapplicable to their paintings upon large walls. He tried many experiments, and he at length found that the resinous gum, called mastic, would produce the effect which he had vainly sought from salt of tartar. With the gum and wax he made crayons, and found various ways of combining the colours, so [Pg 356]as best to adapt them for the use of painting. When the work was finished, he was accustomed sometimes to give it a slight covering of wax, in place of varnish, and sometimes to leave it without; but in every process which he observed, he perfected the work by the application of fire, or as he himself observes, by burning it. This he effected by holding a brazier near the front of the picture, and lastly going over the work with a small linen cloth, which clears and enlivens the tints.

I have seen the first trials, as made by the Ab. Requeno himself, or by artists directed by him, in possession of his Excellency Pignatelli at Bologna, who added to the discovery no small share of information and patronage. But it was not to be expected that a new kind of painting could be perfected by means of a single studio. Aware of this, the author of the work thus expresses himself: "At the moment when a resinous gum shall be found better, that is, more white and hard, and equally soluble with wax and water as those employed by me, the pictures and caustics will become more beautiful, consistent, and durable. I am not a painter by profession, nor do I merit any particular commendation among dilettanti. My pictures have been conducted solely for the purpose of shewing a method of painting with ease and consistency in wax, without oil, without glue, and by means of gums only, with wax and water." On this account he thenceforward invited professors [Pg 357]to join in promoting his discovery, and lived to witness its effects.

Omitting to speak of the chemists who aided in throwing light upon the progress of this art,[62] the pictoric school at Rome undertook in a manner to promote and bring it to its last degree of perfection. At that period lived counsellor Renfesthein, the friend of Mengs and of Winckelmann, [TN14] a man of exquisite taste in the arts of design, and ever surrounded by numbers of artists, who either received from him the benefit of his advice, or commissions from foreigners, private persons, and sovereigns. To these he proposed sometimes one, sometimes another method of the caustic art; and in a short time he beheld his cabinet filled with pictures on canvass, on wood, and on different kinds of stones, which he had already submitted to every proof, by putting them under ground, in water, and exposing them to every variety of weather without injury. From this time the new discovery spread to different studii, and was communicated successively to the Italian cities, and to foreign nations.

[Pg 358]Entire chambers have thus been painted by caustic, a specimen of which is seen in that which the Archduke Ferdinand, governor of Milan, caused to be thus decorated in his villa of Monza. And in ornamental paintings and landscape this art may hitherto boast still more attractions than in figures. All however must be aware that it has not yet attained that degree of softness and finish possessed by the ancients in their paintings in wax, and in oil and varnish by the moderns. But where many unite to perfect it, it may be hoped that some Van Eyck may rise up, who will succeed in discovering, or more properly in perfecting that which "all artists had long looked for and ardently desired."[63]

[57] That of head librarian at St. Mark's.

[58] See Renaldis, p. 20.

[59] Gratella, literally a gridiron, or lattice-work.

[60] See Il Sig. Ab. Requeno, in his "Essays for the Re-establishment of the ancient Art of the Greek and Roman Painters." Ed. Ven. p. 108.

[61] See the Encyclopedia, at the Art. Encaustique.

[62] See the Discorso della Cera Punica, by the Cav. Lorgna, Verona, 1785. Also Osservazioni intorno alla Cera Punica, by Count Luigi Torri, Verona, 1785. In the work of Federici is an account of another little production by Gio. Maria Astorri of Treviso, edited in Venice, 1786; in which Spanish honey is much praised for the purpose of preparing and whitening the wax; and being a painter he relates several experiments he made with this and other methods, which succeeded well. Gio. Fabroni, keeper of the royal cabinet at Florence, likewise wrote concerning it. See the Roman Anthology for the year 1797.

[63] Vasari.

[Pg 359]




The Ancients.

Last among the ancient schools of Italy is to be enumerated the Genoese, in regard to the period in which it flourished, not to its merit, which I consider as being equal to that of many others. In Liguria the first revival of painting appeared tardy; not so its progress, which was rapid and distinguished. In Genoa and Savona, as well as in other cities situated on the sea-shore, there remain some ancient paintings by unknown hands, one of which, over the gate of Savona, is distinguished by the date of 1101. The first artist known by any extant production, is one Franciscus de Oberto, as he signs himself on the edge of a painting of the Virgin between two angels, which is in the church of S. Domenico, at Genoa, displaying nothing of the Giottesque, and executed in 1368. It cannot be ascertained that he was altogether a native artist, as may be confidently asserted of the Monk of Ieres, and of Niccolo da Voltri, names known to history though not by any surviving works. The Monk of the Isole d'Oro, or of Ieres, [Pg 360]or Stecadi, where he long resided, was not pointed out to us by name by any ancient writer. His surname was Cybo, and historians place him in the genealogical tree of Innocent VIII. Besides being a good Provençal poet, and historian, it is said that he became an excellent miniaturist, and on this account, a favourite with the King and Queen of Aragon, to whom he presented several of his illuminated books. He also delighted in representing in his paintings birds, fish, quadrupeds, trees with fruits, ships of various forms, perspectives of cities and edifices, objects, in short, which he beheld in the islands around him. It is conjectured by Baldinucci that Giotto's models, in an age thronged with miniaturists, and not wanting in painters, had influenced the efforts of this isolated artist. How this assertion can be confirmed I know not, the more so as history describes him as having devoted himself late in life to design, and in the island of Lerino, where it is not known there were any followers of Giotto. Voltri was also a figure painter; some of his altar-pieces survived to the time of Soprani, who extols them, without, however, pointing out with precision the peculiarities of his taste or school.

During the fifteenth century, and part of the following, the capital city, and those depending on it, were supplied, for the most part, with foreign painters, almost all unknown to their native schools on account of their having, as it appears, resided in Liguria. Some account remains of a [Pg 361]German called Giusto di Alemagna, in a cloister of S. Maria di Castello, at Genoa. He there painted in fresco an Annunciation in 1451, a precious picture of its sort, finished in the manner of miniaturists, and which seems to promise for Germany the style of an Albert Durer. At the same period Jacopo Marone, of Alessandria, painted an altar-piece at S. Jacopo in Savona, in distemper, consisting of various compartments, and in the midst of it a Nativity with a landscape, a work conducted with exquisite care in every part. At S. Brigida, in Genoa, too, are seen, by the same hand, two altar-pieces, one with the date of 1481, the other of 1484. The author was one Galeotto Nebea, of Castellaccio, a place not far from Alexandria. The three principal Archangels in the first, and S. Pantaleone with other martyrs in the second, are represented on a gold ground, very tolerably executed, both in forms and draperies, which are extremely rich, with stiff and regular foldings, not borrowed from any other school. It exhibits also the grado or step, with minute histories, a work somewhat crude, but displaying diligence.

Turning from the head city to Savona, a third native of Alexandria, called Gio. Massone, painted about the year 1490, in the church erected by Sixtus IV. for the sepulture of his family. Although not mentioned in history, he must have been distinguished in his time, to have been selected for such a work, and remunerated with one hundred [Pg 362]and ninety-two ducats for his labour. It is comprised in a small altar-piece, where, seen at the feet of the Virgin, are the portraits of the pope, and the cardinal Giuliano, his nephew, afterwards Julius II. The same city, preserving so many ancient memorials, has also snatched from oblivion the names of one Tuccio di Andria, an artist employed at S. Jacopo in 1487, and of two natives of Pavia, who somewhat later perhaps painted on canvass, and signed themselves, the one Laurentius Papiensis, the other Donatus Comes Bardus Papiensis. Another foreigner, by birth a Brescian, and a Carmelite by profession, presents us with a signature, to be found at S. Giovanni, below an altar-piece of the Nativity of our Saviour. It has written on it, "Opus F. Hieronymi de Brixia Carmelitæ, 1519." By the same hand, in the cloister of the Carmelitani at Florence, is a Pietà with this inscription, F. Hieronymus de Brixia. This artist is well deserving of notice, if only on account of his knowledge in perspective, an art so much cultivated after Foppa in Brescia, and throughout Lombardy. Doubtless he was a pupil of that monastery, in which the art of painting was then cultivated; as it is stated by Averoldi, who extols one F. Gio. Maria da Brescia, and the cloister of the Carmine, decorated by him with a number of histories of Elias and of Eliseas. This Girolamo I believe to have been his companion or disciple, a name that has in some way escaped Orlandi, who belonged to the same order.

[Pg 363]No one of the foreign painters is known to have opened school in Liguria, except a native of Nizza, who, through his succession, is almost regarded as the progenitor of the ancient Genoese School. He is called Lodovico Brea, and his works are by no means rare at Genoa and throughout the state, with notices of him between the years 1485 and 1513. In point of taste he is not equal to the best among his contemporaries in other schools, employing gilding, and more strongly adhering to the old dryness of design. His style, nevertheless, yields to that of few in the beauty of its heads, and in the vividness of its colouring, which still remains almost unimpaired. His folding is also good, his composition tolerable, he selects difficult perspectives, and his attitudes are bold. From his whole painting he might be rather pronounced the head of a new, than the follower of any other school. He never attempted grand proportions; in smaller, as we see in the Slaughter of the Innocents, at S. Agostino, he is excellent. His S. Giovanni, in the chapel of the Madonna di Savona, executed by commission for the Card. della Rovere, in competition with other artists, is highly praised.

Thus, until the year 1513, painting in Genoa was in the hands of strangers, and if the natives at all practised it they were few only, as we shall shortly show, while both one and the other were far behind the best methods of their age. Ottaviano Fregoso, elected doge in the above year, at length shed new lustre on the arts. He [Pg 364]invited to Genoa Gio. Giacomo Lombardo, a sculptor, and Carlo del Mantegna, a painter, who succeeded, as we have stated, both to the works and reputation of his master. Carlo not only painted in Genoa but taught, and with a success that would seem quite incredible, were it not that the works of his imitators are still in existence. Thus the Genoese School first took its rise from Brea, and was promoted by Carlo, as we find it described by two painters in two volumes; a school of a long, uninterrupted, and illustrious succession. The first volume is by Raffael Soprani, a patrician of the city, who wrote lives of the Genoese professors of design up to 1667; and added also notices of foreign ones who had been employed in that splendid capital. The second is by the Cav. Carlo Ratti, secretary to the Ligustic academy, who, after having republished the Lives of Soprani, accompanied by useful notes, continued the same work in another volume and on the same plan, down to the present day. He has moreover published, in two small volumes, a Guide, intended to give an account of the best specimens of art, both in private and public, which Genoa and every district of the state can boast; an extremely useful undertaking, and, if I mistake not, without example either in or beyond Italy. Thus, owing to the exertions of this deserving citizen, the pictoric history of Liguria has become one of the most complete among those of all Italy as respects the number of its artists, and the most certain in enabling [Pg 365]us to form a correct opinion of their merits. Directed by these, and by other additional information received on the spot from Sig. Ratti himself, as well as from others, I proceed to resume the thread of my narrative.

About the period that Carlo arrived at Genoa, the same city was also so fortunate as to become the residence of Pier Francesco Sacchi, commended by Lomazzo, who calls him Pierfrancesco Pavese, an artist well skilled in the style then prevailing at Milan. He was a good perspective painter, delightful in landscape, and a diligent, correct designer. The public is still in possession of his altar-piece of the Four Holy Doctors in the oratory of S. Ugo. The style of Sacchi nearly resembles that of Carlo del Mantegna, from what we gather from his works in Mantua, there remaining no vestiges of them in Genoa. Two youths of very fine genius for the art were at this period educating in the school of Lodovico Brea. One was named Antonio Semini, the other Teramo Piaggia, or Teramo di Zoagli, the place of his birth. There is no account of their being indebted either to the advice or examples of the new masters, when they began to be employed for the public, but their altar-pieces display the fact. They painted conjointly, and affixed both their names to their productions. In that of the Martyrdom of St. Andrew, which they conducted for the church of that name, they likewise added their own portraits. None can have witnessed this very [Pg 366]beautiful altar-piece, without seeing traces of Brea's style already enlarged and changed into one more modern. The figures are not of those dimensions which we subsequently see in a better age, nor is the design sufficiently soft and full, but there is a clearness in the countenances that rivets attention, an union of colouring that attracts; the folding is easy, the composition somewhat thronged, though not by any means despicable. Few originators of the style which is now termed modern antique, can be fairly preferred before these two artists and friends. Teramo in his individual specimens at Chiavari and at Genoa itself, retains somewhat more of the antique, particularly as regards composition, but is always animated in his countenances, studied and graceful. Antonio appears to me almost like the Pietro Perugino of his school. In his Deposition from the Cross he approaches nearer the better age, a painting in possession of the Dominicans at Genoa, as well as in some other pieces highly commended for the figures, and the accessories of perspective and landscape, though his great merit does not appear most conspicuous here. For this we should consult his Nativity, painted for S. Domenico in Savona, and we shall be convinced that he also emulated Perino and Raffaello himself.

Before proceeding to an improved epoch, we ought here to insert the names of a few other native artists to whom we already alluded. It is doubtful whether Aurelio Robertelli ranks in this [Pg 367]list, by whom, at Savona, is a figure of the Virgin painted on a column of the old cathedral, dated 1499, and transferred to the new one, where it excites the particular veneration of the people. A little subsequent appeared a painting by Niccolo Corso, at Genoa, bearing the date of 1503. It represents a history of S. Benedict, painted in fresco for the villa of Quarto belonging to the Padri Olivetani, in whose refectory, cloister, and church near the Corso, he was much employed. Soprani enumerates other histories, of which he extols the richness of invention, the passionate expression, and especially the vividness and durability of the colouring. He adds, that were he less hard, he might rank among the very first of his profession. The same writer commends Andrea Morinello for an altar-piece formerly seen at S. Martino di Albaro, dated 1516; an artist very graceful in his countenances, excellent in portrait, soft and clear in his outlines, and one of the first in those parts who opened the way for the modern manner. He likewise praises F. Lorenzo Moreno, a Carmelite, skilled in fresco, who painted the Annunciation in a cloister of the Carmine, now cut out of the exterior wall of the building in order to preserve it. Finally he extols an ecclesiastic of the Franciscan order, by name F. Simon da Carnuli, who, in his church at Voltri, painted two histories in one large altar-piece in 1519. One of these represents the Institution of the Eucharist, the other the preaching of St. Antony. Still it is not free from [Pg 368]the hardness peculiar to the age as regards the figures; but in the architecture of the edifices, and in the gradual receding of the perspective, it is so perfect that the celebrated Andrea Doria was eager at any price to purchase it, in order to present it as a gift to the Escurial. But the people of Voltri refused every offer, and still keep possession of it. A few others, who enjoyed a degree of reputation from their sons, will be mentioned along with them in the epoch of which we shall next proceed to treat.

[Pg 369]



Perino and his Followers.

Whilst the art was advancing in Genoa and her territories, there occurred the celebrated siege of Rome, and the calamities which accompanied and followed it, in consequence of which the scholars of Raffaello were dispersed, and established themselves some in one city and some in another. We have seen in the course of this work Polidoro and Salerno in Naples, Giulio in Mantua, Pellegrino in Modena, and Gaudenzio in Milan, distinguish themselves as the masters of eminent schools; and we find one school founded by Perino del Vaga in Genoa, which has maintained the splendour of its origin in a way inferior to none. Perino arrived in Genoa in a state of distress in 1528, after the sacking of Rome. He was there liberally welcomed by Prince Doria, who employed him for several years in the decoration of his magnificent palace without the gate of S. Tommaso. He superintended as well the external decorations of the sculptures, as the internal ornaments of the stuccos, the gilding, the arabesques, the paintings in fresco and in oil. This place, in consequence, breathes all the taste [Pg 370]of the halls and loggie of the Vatican; the celebrated works of which, at that time, attracted universal admiration, and in the execution of part of which Perino had a considerable share. This artist has indeed no where displayed his talents to such advantage as in the Doria palace; and it is doubtful whether Perino in Genoa, or Giulio in Mantua, have best sustained the style of Raffaello. We find in the palace some small histories of celebrated Romans, of Cocles, for example, and Scævola, which might pass for compositions of Raffaello; a group of Boys at Play, likewise, has all the air of that master; and on a ceiling, in the War of the Giants against the Gods, we seem to behold in conflict the same persons whom Raffaello had represented as banqueting in the Casa Chigi. If the expression be not so noble, the grace so rare, it is because that grand specimen of art may be emulated by many, but equalled by none. It may be added, that Perino's style is less finished than his master's, and that, in his drawing of the naked figure, he, like Giulio, partakes of the style of Michelangiolo. Four chambers, Vasari informs us, were painted in the palace from the cartoons of Vaga, by Luzio Romano, and some Lombards, his assistants; one of whom, of the name of Guglielmo Milanese, followed him to Rome, and held in that court the office of Frate del Piombo. The others have left no name behind them, and must have been individuals of inferior talents and poorly paid, as we occasionally find rude and heavy figures. Such defects are not uncommon [Pg 371]in the works which Perino undertook, for when he had made his cartoons or designs he gave them to his pupils to execute, with material advantage to his pecuniary interests, but with detriment to his reputation. This is observed by Vasari, nor do I know how he could have the courage to mention in connexion with this circumstance the works which were executed with the assistance of their scholars by Raffaello and Giulio Romano, illustrious masters, irreproachable in the selection of their assistants, indefatigable in their application, and contemning that avidity of gain which drew down on Perino merited reprehension. There is still, in the palace Doria, a frieze of boys, commenced by him in one of the loggie, continued by Pordenone, and finished by Beccafumo; and the remains of what was there painted by Girolamo da Trevigi, who, through jealous rivalry towards Perino, forsook both the city and the state. Perino painted some pictures for the churches in Genoa; where too we find some by eminent foreign hands, amongst which is the St. Stephen, painted by Giulio Romano for the church of that saint; an altar-piece perhaps the most copious in composition, and the most striking that issued from the studio of that master. It was at this time too that many noble individuals applied themselves to collect foreign specimens of every school, and they have since been emulated by their posterity, who in this pursuit perhaps surpass all the private collectors in Italy, except those of Rome.

[Pg 372]By these means the country became enriched with beautiful works, and began to turn itself to a more perfect style, which it attained with a celerity unknown to any other school. The transition from the style of Brea, which was that of the thirteenth century, to that of Raffaello, occupied but a few years; and even the scholars of Nizzardo, as we have observed, very soon became worthy imitators of the first of modern masters. These principles were sure to make the most prosperous advances amongst a people rich in genius and industry; and amidst a nobility that abounded in wealth, and who in no way lavished it more freely than in raising splendid sanctuaries to religion, and sumptuous habitations for themselves, which in grandeur, decorations, tapestries, and in other kinds of luxuries, scarcely yielded to royalty. From munificence like this, the School of Genoa derived aid and encouragement, though not much known abroad, as her artists were sufficiently occupied at home. Its characteristic excellence, in the opinion of Mengs, consisted in the number of its excellent fresco painters; so that a church or palace of any antiquity is scarcely to be named which does not possess the most beautiful works, or at least the memory of them. And it is a remarkable fact, when we consider how exposed the city is to the sea air, that so many works in fresco, executed by early artists, should have remained in so perfect a state. Nor did the school of Genoa want celebrity in oil paintings, particularly in the qualities of truth and force of colouring, [Pg 373]which excellences, derived first from Perino and afterwards from the Flemish, it always retained; not yielding in this respect to any school of Italy, except the Venetian. It has produced also noble designers; although some, like other mannerists, have debased the pencil by hasty and negligent performances. Not having in public many examples of ideal excellence, it has supplied the deficiency by the study of the natural; and in the figure it has rather adopted the healthy, and the robust, and the energetic, than the delicate and the elegant. The study of portraits, in which this school had excellent masters and most lucrative practice, had a great influence on the figures of its first epoch; those of its last, if they have more beauty, have less spirit. There existed a talent for extensive composition, but in middle size rather than in great. In these they had not epic masters, like Paolo and other Venetians; they did not, however, so often violate decorum and costume. This was, perhaps, the result of the attachment to literature entertained by many of the Genoese painters, amongst whom are enumerated a greater number of men of letters, and especially gentlemen, than in any other school. This latter circumstance was, in a great measure, owing to Paggi, who, in a treatise of considerable length, defended the nobility of the art,[64] and obtained a public decree,[65] declaring the art honourable, and [Pg 374]worthy of cultivation by men of the noblest birth; an event from which the art derived the greatest dignity. We now return to particulars.

The first who attached themselves to Perino for instruction, were Lazzaro and Pantaleo Calvi, the sons and scholars of an Agostino Calvi, a good painter in the old style, and one of the first in Genoa who forsook the gold ground for one of colour. Lazzaro was at that time twenty-five years of age, his brother somewhat more; nor did the latter rise in reputation, except in lending to the works of Lazzaro his aid and his name. These works abounded in Genoa and her territories, at Monaco and at Naples, in every variety of composition, arabesques, and stuccos with which are decorated palaces and churches. Some of these are excellent, as the façades of the palace Doria, (now Spinola,) with prisoners in various attitudes, considered as a school of design; and several historical compositions in colours and chiaroscuro, in the best taste.[66] In the palace Pallavicini, at Zerbino, is a composition of theirs commonly called the Continence of Scipio; a remark which I owe to Sig. Ratti, who not having included it in his edition of 1768, obligingly communicated it to me for this work. To this they also added naked figures, [Pg 375]with so happy an imitation of Perino that, in the opinion of Mengs, they might be adjudged to that master. Moreover, we know that Perino was liberal to them in designs and cartoons; whence, in these better works, we may always presume on the aid of the master's hand. However it might be, Lazzaro indulged in a self-conceit of his own powers, and left behind some specimens of an extravagance which no painter has since followed, except Corenzio. He was particularly jealous of any young artist, who he thought might interfere with his fame or interests, and to gratify his envy had recourse to the blackest arts. One of these rivals, Giacomo Bargone, he took off by poison; and to depress the others he drew around himself a crowd of adherents and hirelings, who influenced the opinion of the vulgar, by praising the works of Lazzaro to the skies, and depreciating those of his competitors. These cabals were more strongly instanced in the chapel Centurioni, where he painted the Birth of St. John, in competition with Andrea Semini and Luca Cambiaso, who there also painted other pictures from the history of that saint. This work was one of his happiest efforts, and the most approaching to the style of his master; but he could not crush the genius of Cambiaso, which after this occasion appeared more brilliant than his own; whence the Prince Doria selected that artist to execute a very considerable work in fresco for the church of S. Matteo. This so enraged Calvi, that he gave himself up to a sea [Pg 376]life, and abandoned the pencil for twenty years. He ultimately resumed it, and continued, though with a hardness of style, to paint till his eighty-fifth year. One of his last works is to be seen on the walls and in the cupola of S. Catherine; but it is cold, meagre, and bears all the marks of senility. Indeed after his return to the art, and particularly after the death of Pantaleo, who had assiduously assisted him in every work, Lazzaro was only memorable for the extreme protraction of his life, which extended to 105 years.

Of the two Semini, Andrea and Ottavio, it is not ascertained that they had in Genoa any other master than their father Antonio; but after the example of their father, they deferred much to Perino, as did also Luca their contemporary. In confirmation of which it is said, that Perino having found them engaged with a print of Titian, and hearing them remarking on some incorrectness in the drawing, reproved them by observing, that in the works of the great masters we ought to pass over their faults and extol their excellence. But the two brothers, enchanted by the style of Raffaello, became ambitious of drinking at the fountain of the art, and, repairing to Rome, applied themselves to the diligent study of the works of that master, and the remains of antiquity, particularly the Trajan column. They were afterwards employed both at Genoa and in Milan, where they painted many works, both in conjunction and separately, all in the Roman [Pg 377]style, particularly in their early career. Andrea discovered less talent than Ottavio; and was, perhaps, more tenacious than he in his imitation of Raffaello, especially in the contours of his faces. He sometimes wants delicacy, as in a crucifixion lately come into the possession of the Duke of Tuscany; and sometimes correctness, as in the Presepio, in the church of St. Francis in Genoa, which is in other respects very Raffaellesque, and may be reckoned among his best works. Ottavio, an unprincipled man, was an eminent artist, and succeeded so well in the imitation of his master, as is scarcely credible to those who have not seen his works. He painted the façade of the palace Doria, now Invrea, and there displayed so fine a taste in the architecture, and decorated it with busts and figures of such relief, and particularly with a Rape of the Sabines, that Giulio Cesare Procaccini took it for a performance of Raffaello, and asked if that great master had left any other works in Genoa. Of equal merit, or nearly so, were many of his frescos, painted for the nobility, until, as is often the case with fresco painters, he ended his career in a freer but less finished style. Of these latter he left many specimens at Milan, where he passed the latter years of his life. In that city the entire decoration of the chapel of S. Girolamo at S. Angelo is painted by him, the chief composition of which is the funeral group which accompanies the saint to the sepulchre. It possesses, if not a noble design, yet great fertility of [Pg 378]invention, great spirit, and a strong and beautiful colour, as he possessed that part of the art in an eminent degree in works of fresco; for in oils he was either unwilling or unable to colour well.

Luca Cambiaso, called also Luchetto da Genoa, did not quit his native country to obtain instruction, nor did he frequent any other school than that of his father; obscure indeed, but of a good method, and sufficient to a mind of genius. Giovanni his father, a tolerable quattrocentista, and a great admirer of Vaga and Pordenone, after having exercised him in copying the designs of Mantegna, a master of chasteness of contour, and having instructed him in the art of modelling, so useful in relief and foreshortening, carried him to the palace Doria, and there pointed out to his attention those great prototypes of art, with the addition of his own instruction. The study of these performances, by a youth who was born a painter, awakened in him such emulation, that he began in his fifteenth year to produce works of his own invention; and gave promise of one day ranking, as he did, with the first painters of his age. He displayed facility, fire, and grandeur of design, and was on that account adduced by Boschini as an example of fine contours, and held in high esteem in the cabinets of the dilettanti. He embodied his ideas with such despatch and success, that Armenini affirms that he had seen him paint with two pencils at a time, and with a touch not less free, and more correct than Tintoretto. He was, moreover, [Pg 379]fertile and novel in his designs, skilful in introducing the most arduous foreshortenings, and in surmounting the difficulties of the art. He was deficient at first in the true principles of perspective; but he soon acquired the theory from Castello, his great friend and companion, as we shall shortly see. Through him he improved both his colouring and his style of composition. In conjunction with Castello he executed several works, so much alike, that one hand can scarcely be distinguished from the other. These, however, were not his best performances. He must be seen where he painted alone; and he shines no where more than in Genoa, nor beyond a period of twelve years, within which space Soprani circumscribes his best time. Let it not appear strange to those who hear this opinion of that writer. Luca had not the good fortune to benefit from those great masters who, with a word, put their scholars in the right path; he went on, however, improving from his own resources, a long and laborious course, in which a thousand wishes are formed before the goal is reached. But Cambiaso attained it, and held it until an ungovernable passion, as we shall see in the sequel, threw him back again.

Confining ourselves to the works of the best twelve years of his practice, we see in him a man who possessed a high predilection for the Roman School; deriving instruction from prints, and impelled by his own genius to attempt I know not what of originality. Where this originality appears, [Pg 380]we should not wish Cambiaso other than himself, and where it does not appear, we should not wish him any thing but an imitator. Of the first kind is the Martyrdom of St. George in the church of that saint, which for the noble character of the sufferer, the sympathy of the spectators, the composition, variety, and force of chiaroscuro, is considered his chef d'œuvre. Of the second kind there are, perhaps, more specimens to be found; as the picture at the Rocchettini, of S. Benedetto with John the Baptist and St. Luke, very much in the style of Perino and Raffaello; and above all, the Rape of the Sabines in Terralba, a suburb of Genoa, in the palace of the Imperiali. Every thing combines to please in this work; the magnificence of the buildings, the beauty of the horses, the alarm of the virgins, the ardour of the invaders, the several episodes which, in various compartments, crown the principal subject, and, as it were, continue the story. It is related that Mengs, after having viewed this picture, said, that out of Rome he had not seen any thing that more strongly brought to his recollection the loggie of the Vatican, than these works. He also executed other works of singular merit, particularly for private collections, among which I have found more pictures of a free than of a devout description. Being left a widower, he became enamoured of a female relative, whom he in vain endeavoured to obtain permission from the Pope to marry. This disappointment induced the [Pg 381]neglect of his art. He then repaired to the court of Madrid, with the view of facilitating his wishes, and when he found himself deprived of all hope in this object, he fell sick and died. He left many works in the Escurial, and amongst these the subject of Paradise, in the vault of the church, a large composition, and a work very much praised by Lomazzo, but not equally so by Mengs, who had seen and examined it for several successive years.

Gio. Batista Castello, the companion of Cambiaso, is commonly called in Genoa Il Bergamasco, to distinguish him from Gio. Batista Castello, a Genoese, a scholar of Cambiaso, and the most celebrated miniature painter of his age. Our present subject, born in Bergamo, and brought, when a youth, to Genoa, by Aurelio Buso, (v. vol. iii. page 184) was, on his sudden departure, left by him in that city. In this state of desertion he found a patron in one of the Pallavicini family, who gave him a friendly reception, and assisted him with the means of prosecuting his studies; sending him to Rome, from whence he returned to Genoa an accomplished architect, sculptor, and painter, not inferior to Cambiaso. His taste, formed by studying at Rome, was similar to that of Luca, as I have already observed; and in the church of S. Matteo are works painted by them in concert. We may observe in these the style of Raffaello already verging on mannerism, but not so much so as that which prevailed in Rome in the time of Gregory and Sixtus. Connoisseurs discover in Cambiaso a [Pg 382]greater genius and more elegance of design; in the Bergamese more care, a deeper knowledge, and colour occasionally partaking more of the school of Venice than of Rome. It is however very probable that when so friendly an intercourse subsisted they may have aided each other, even in those places where they worked in competition, where each claimed his own work, and distinguished it by his name. Thus at the Nunziata di Portoria Luca represented on the walls the final state of the blest and the rejected in the last judgment; while Gio. Batista, in the vault, painted the Supreme Judge in the midst of the angelic choir, calling the elect to bliss. He appears in the attitude of uttering the words Venite benedicti, appended in capital letters. It is a highly finished performance, and of so exalted a character that we should think that Luca, when he painted the laterals to it, was asleep, so inferior are they in composition and expression. On many other occasions he painted alone, as the S. Jerome surrounded by monks terrified at a lion, in S. Francesco in Castelletto; and the S. Sebastian in the church of that saint, receiving the crown of martyrdom; a picture rich in composition, studied in execution, and far beyond any commendation of mine. He painted in Genoa other pictures, and always discovered an air of life in the countenances, a magnificence in the architecture, a strength of colour and chiaroscuro, which makes one regret that he was so little known in Italy; and possibly he was [Pg 383]prevented from being known as an oil painter by the numerous works in fresco which he executed in Genoa; the largest of which is in the Palazzo Grillo. We there see a portico painted in arabesque, and a saloon, in the ceiling of which is represented the banquet given by Dido to Æneas; a beautiful work, particularly the arabesques, but not sufficiently studied. This artist, in his latter years, was painter to the court at Madrid, whither, on his death, Luca Cambiaso was called to finish the larger historical subjects; but the grotesques, and the ornamental parts interspersed with figures, were continued by the two sons of Gio. Batista, whom he had carried with him to Madrid as his assistants. Palomini makes honourable mention of them, and the Padre de' Santi Teresiani, and the Padre Mazzolari Girolamino, in their description of the Escurial, enumerate their works, commending their variety, singularity, and beauty of colour. One was called Fabrizio, the other Granello; and the latter, as Ratti conjectures, was the son of Nicolosio Granello, an able fresco painter of the school of Semini, whose widow was married to Castelli, and probably brought with her this son of her first marriage.

Painters have in general been found to impart instruction more freely to native scholars than to strangers; and yet the latter have always profited more than the former, so that it rarely happened that on the death of the chief of a school the reputation of that school has been continued by a son [Pg 384]or a nephew. Such was the case with the Genoese, where Calvi, the Semini, and Cambiaso, had each a numerous progeny, and a progeny too attached to the art; and yet amongst so many there was not one who passed the bounds of mediocrity, except perhaps Orazio, the son of Luca Cambiaso, of whom Soprani merely says that he followed in a praiseworthy manner his father's style, and initiated some pupils in the art. It was therefore to his better scholars that Cambiaso was indebted for assistance in his profession; one of whom, Lazzaro Tavarone, followed him even into Spain, and remained there for some years after his master's death. He afterwards returned to Genoa, stored with the designs of Luca, and loaded with riches and honours. Luca seemed to live again in his scholar, so fully did he possess his style. He moreover distinguished himself by a method of colouring in fresco, which, if I mistake not, raised him above all his predecessors in this school, and above all who succeeded him, except Carloni. This peculiarity consisted in a richness, brightness, and variety of colour, which brings distant objects vividly to the sight, the whole composition appearing brilliantly illuminated, and the tints splendidly and harmoniously blended. One may perhaps occasionally wish in them more softness, but in general they have all the richness of oil paintings. The tribune of the Duomo, where the patron saints of the city are represented, particularly S. Lorenzo, from whose history some passages [Pg 385]are selected, is the chef d'œuvre of his public works. The façade of the palace of the doge is also a considerable performance, representing St. George slaying the dragon; around it and above are other numerous figures of citizens of eminence, of the virtues, of genii with nautical weapons and the spoils of the enemy, some of which might pass for the work of Pordenone. This grand work is exposed to the sea, the spray of which has affected, but not destroyed it. In many other churches and palaces also are to be found the works of Tavarone; histories, fables, and imaginary compositions, often so well preserved that the scaffolding and the steps by which the artists ascended and descended, appear as if just removed. Fortunate, had his works been fewer in number, and finished with equal care. Some pictures in oil are mentioned by him, but more rare and of less merit than his frescos.

Cesare Corte was of Pavian extraction. Valerio, his father, who was born in Venice, was the son of a gentleman of Pavia, and became, under the instruction of Titian, an excellent portrait painter; and his talents insuring him a favourable reception in Genoa, he settled there. He remained in that city for the rest of his life, and died in poverty, his means being all consumed in fruitless experiments in alchemy. He was the intimate friend of Cambiaso, whose life he wrote; and to him he committed the instruction of his son Cesare. [Pg 386]This son did not indeed equal his father, but he surpassed the greater number of his fellow scholars. In the church of S. Piero he painted the tutelar saint at the foot of the Madonna, surrounded by angels; a picture of chaste design and of a true and harmonious colouring. His historical pictures and his portraits are found in many collections: one of the former, in the Casa Pallavicino, on a subject from the Inferno of Dante, was celebrated by Chiabrera in an elegant sonnet. The fame of this artist was tarnished by his heretical opinions, imbibed by the perusal of some pernicious work, as often happens to the half informed, who read every thing, understand little, and finally believe nothing. He however abjured his errors, though never released from his prison, where he died. David, his son, restricted himself to the limits of a copyist; and in this so highly distinguished himself, that his pictures are placed in some collections at the side of the originals as wonders of art.

Bernardo Castello frequented the school of Andrea Semini more than that of Cambiaso; in his principles he inclined more to the latter, and in practice he followed both indifferently. Travelling afterwards through Italy he saw other works, and formed a style not devoid of grace, nor of correctness, when he worked with care; as in the Martyrdom of St. Clement and St. Agatagnolo, in the church of S. Sebastian, and the St. Anne at S. Matteo. He had a fertile invention, in which he was aided by the poets of the age, whose friendship [Pg 387]he assiduously cultivated.[67] He was eulogized by Lionardo Spinola, D. Angiolo Grillo, Ceva, Marino, Chiabrera, and by Tasso, for whose Jerusalem he made the designs which were in part engraved by Agostino Caracci. His reputation raised him not only to the rank of one of the first masters of his school, but of Italy itself; and he was thus selected to work in the Vatican, as has been mentioned. He there painted St. Peter called to the apostleship, a picture which was soon afterwards removed, and one by Lanfranco substituted in its place, either because it was injured by damp, or had not given satisfaction. Castello indeed did not possess that vigorous style which Rome at this time demanded, refusing her applause to the Vasaris and Zuccaris. He had much of their style of colour, nor was he exempt from their despatch; and, like them, he opened the way in his school to facility instead of correctness. Genoa is filled, or rather glutted, with his works, yet they still maintain their reputation, as they are all sustained by a certain vigour and grace of style. He sometimes appears in foreign [Pg 388]collections, and in that of the Colonna in Rome I saw a Parnassus by him with Poussin figures and a beautiful landscape, which may be ranked amongst his most finished works. Soprani informs us that he was again invited to Rome, to paint a picture of St. Peter, and that he died whilst he was preparing himself for this journey, aged seventy-two. But at so advanced a period of life one may doubt the truth of this report. He had three sons, painters, of whom Valerio alone is deserving of commemoration, and we shall notice him in his place.

Among his foreign scholars Simon Barabbino deserves remembrance, whose rare genius created so strong a jealousy in Castello as to induce him to expel him from his school. He retired from it, and afterwards painted at the Nunziata del Guastato the S. Diego, which Soprani almost prefers to the best work of Castello. But he did not obtain any great celebrity among his countrymen. Milan rendered him that honour which his own native place denied; in consequence of which he settled there, and worked in the palaces and churches. There is by him, at S. Girolamo, a Madonna with a dead Christ, accompanied by S. Michael and S. Andrew. The colour is true, the heads are correctly drawn, the naked figure well understood, the contours sufficiently accurate and well relieved. He would have attained still greater perfection, but he turned to merchandize, where instead of wealth he found only his ruin, and died in gaol.

[Pg 389]Gio. Batista Paggi, a patrician by birth, was led to the profession of a painter by his predilection for the art, which, in spite of the opposition of his father, he indulged in from his earliest years. He was highly accomplished in letters, and his various attainments in poetry, philosophy, and history, all served to assist him in the composition of his pictures. He was perhaps not so much extolled by the poets as Castello, but he attained a greater celebrity among his brother artists. He was directed by Cambiaso in his first studies, which was the drawing in chiaroscuro from the casts of antique bassi-relievi, for the purpose of attaining a true idea of the beautiful, and preparing himself for the study of nature. Being well skilled in the practice of the crayon, with little labour, and almost alone, he learnt the art of colouring; and without the instructions of a master, taught himself architecture and perspective. Whilst he was rising into notice, he was compelled to flee his country for homicide; and, for about the space of twenty years, he resided in Florence, protected by that court, and always profitably employed. Florence, at that time, abounded with men of first rate genius; and it was then that Cigoli, and all the young painters, abandoned their own languid style for the rich and vigorous Lombard. Paggi had not so much occasion as the others to invigorate his manner, as appears from the works he executed in Florence not long after his arrival there. There remains by him a Holy Family, and another picture [Pg 390]in the church degli Angioli, and in the cloister of S. Maria Novella a history piece of S. Catherine of Siena. It represents the saint liberating a condemned person, and is a large composition, ornamented with beautiful buildings, and so pleasingly executed that I have heard it preferred to all in that convent. Nevertheless the great merit of Paggi was not at that time vigour, but a certain nobleness of air, which always continued to be his characteristic, and a delicacy and grace which have led some to compare him to Baroccio, and even to Coreggio. It seems to me that he became more vigorous as he advanced, and a proof of it is to be seen in the stupendous Transfiguration, painted in S. Mark, which seems almost beyond his powers. In the same style he painted for the Certosa at Pavia three pictures from the Passion of our Saviour, which appear to me among his best works. He was ultimately recalled by the republic about the year 1600 for his excellence in his art, and the courts both of Pavia and Madrid invited, and were desirous of employing him. His patriotism however precluded him from accepting these honourable appointments. He illustrated his native city with beautiful works in the churches and in collections. They have not all equal merit, as this artist also was not exempt from the disadvantages of bad priming, domestic anxieties, and the infirmities of age. His best works, according to some, are the two pictures at the church of S. Bartolommeo, and the Slaughter of the Innocents, in [Pg 391]the possession of his Excellence the Sig. Giuseppe Doria, painted in competition with Vandyke and Rubens in 1606. He formed also some excellent scholars, the account of whom we shall reserve to the succeeding epoch. We shall there again recur to him, as he is placed on the confines of the two periods of his school, and may be regarded in the one as a scholar, and in the other as a master.

[Pg 392]



The Art relapses for some time, and is re-invigorated by the Works of Paggi and some Foreigners.

Every school, whatever may have been the celebrity of its founder, betrays in the course of time symptoms of decay, and stands in need of restoration. The Genoese, in the hands of Castello, experienced a decline about the close of the sixteenth century, but soon afterwards revived, by the return of Paggi, and the arrival of some foreigners, who established themselves for a considerable period in that city. To this amelioration Sofonisba Angussola not a little contributed by the assemblies of scholars and professors of the art, which were held in his house, much to their improvement, as we have before observed. Among these were Gentileschi, Roncalli, and the Procaccini, who were employed in various public works. Aurelio Lomi of Pisa settled in Genoa, taught there, and left some excellent works at San Francesco di Castelletto, at the Nunziata del Guastato and elsewhere. Nor ought we to omit Simon Balli, his scholar, unknown in Florence, his native city, but deserving of being remembered for his style, which partook considerably of Andrea del [Pg 393]Sarto's, and for some small cabinet pictures on copper. Antonio Antoniano of Urbino also resorted thither, if we are to believe Soprani.[68] He brought with him the beautiful picture painted for the Duomo by Baroccio, who was his master; and he himself, in the church of S. Tommaso, painted the picture of the saint and another picture; and, if I mistake not, some others for private individuals, which are at the present day attributed to Baroccio, so successful was his imitation of that master. There came to Genoa from Siena Salimbeni and Sorri, and with them Agostino Tassi. The two latter remained there for a length of time, both working and teaching; and besides these, Ghissoni, who was also a Sienese of some merit, a scholar of Alberti in Rome, and a fresco painter of a vigorous and engaging style. Simon Vovet also repaired thither, but did not remain long; he however executed some works, one particularly of the Crucifixion, at St. Ambrose, not unworthy, as Soprani informs us, of his great name. Amongst the most considerable aid which [Pg 394]Genoa experienced from foreign talents we must enumerate Rubens and Vandyck; the first of whom left there some noble public works, and a number of private historical pieces, and the second a very great number of his eloquent and animated portraits. Gio. Rosa of Flanders also established himself there, mentioned by me in Rome, where he studied; a happy imitator of nature in her most agreeable forms, especially animals. He died in Genoa, and left there Giacomo Legi, his countryman and scholar; of whom there remain some excellent pictures of animals, flowers, and fruit, though few in number, as he died young. Godfrey Waals, a German, and Gio. Batista Primi, a Roman, scholars of Tassi, and landscape painters of much merit, resided there for some time; and Cornelio Wael, with Vincenzio Malò, two Flemish painters, clever in battles, landscapes, and humorous pieces, and the latter also in altar-pieces. Some other Flemish artists must have resided there a shorter time, by whom I have seen in some palaces pictures of large size, and to all appearance painted on the spot; and these I regard as additional aids to a school that benefited at that time more from example than from instruction.

The young artists of Genoa, thus enriched in the course of a few years by fresh examples, entered on a new career, and adopted a more vigorous and grander style than they had before practised. And not a few of them, after receiving the rudiments of instruction in their native place, repaired [Pg 395]to Parma, or Florence, or Rome, to finish their studies; and from these and other sources added celebrity to their country. Thus the seventeenth century did not possess in Genoa so decided a character as the preceding, nor so select or ideal: it had however an abundance of excellent artists, and particularly of the best portrait painters and colourists, sufficient indeed to supply Venice with at her least happy epoch. It would also have attained a higher pitch of repute, if the plague of 1657 had not swept off a vast number of promising artists; the names of some of whom, cut off at an early period of life, may be found mentioned in Soprani. The primary cause of this revival of the art in Genoa may be ascribed to the riches and to the taste of her nobility, who invited and supported these eminent foreign artists. And in the next place much of this merit is due to Paggi. There was at one time great danger of these excellent colourists being negligent designers; and it is indeed a common opinion, adopted also by Algarotti, that the best colourists are seldom correct in design. Paggi, in this important point, supported the credit of the school. He had studied design among the Florentines, the best masters in Italy; and he composed for the instruction of youth a small treatise, entitled[TN15] Diffinizione o sia Divisione della Pittura, which he published in 1607. Soprani considers it a useful compendium, and containing, in plain and unaffected language, the principles of the art. It is mentioned with particular [Pg 396]commendation in a letter of the younger Vasari, which must make us regret the loss of it; and it would be desirable to search the libraries where papers of this description are preserved, to ascertain whether it may be still in existence. All that we at present possess by Paggi is the Treatise mentioned by us a few pages back. In the mean time we shall commence a new epoch with him and his school.

Domenico Fiasella is called il Sarzana, from being born in the city of that name, where he obtained the rudiments of his style. He devoted himself to the study of the noble picture of Andrea del Sarto, which was then in the church of the Predicatori; and where there is at this day a beautiful copy of it. After being instructed for some time by Paggi he repaired to Rome, and studied Raffaello, and imbibed also other favourite styles. He there spent ten years, and became an eminent master, much praised by Guido Reni, and employed as an assistant by the Cav. d'Arpino and Passignano. He finally returned to Genoa, and in that city and in others of higher Italy, executed numerous works. A very considerable part of them he left imperfect, being in the habit of neglecting them, or leaving them to be finished by his scholars, as is the tradition of his native place. Independent of this impatience he was a great artist, and possessed many eminent qualities, a felicity in grand compositions, a style of design often worthy of the Roman School, great life in the heads; an [Pg 397]admirable colour in his oil pictures, and an easy imitation of various styles. He is very Raffaellesque in a S. Bernardo, which is to be seen at S. Vincenzio in Piacenza; Caravaggesque in a S. Tommaso di Villanova, at S. Agostino in Genoa; in the Duomo of Sarzana, where he painted the Slaughter of the Innocents, and in the archiepiscopal gallery of Milan, in an infant Christ, he is a follower of Guido; and in other places an imitator of Annibal Caracci and his school. He can command our admiration when he pleases, and has left a stupendous work in the church of the Augustines in Genoa, representing St. Paul, the first hermit, for whose body, discovered in a lonely forest by St. Antony the Abbot, a lion is in the act of scooping a grave. Many of his pictures are found in private collections. I have met with specimens at Sarzana, in the house of his Excellency the Marquis Remedi, a house celebrated for the cordial and generous hospitality of the owner; and in others too there and in the state. His Madonnas have for the most part a similarity of features; not so ideal as those of Raffaello, but still agreeable and prepossessing.

On the death of Paggi, Fiasella became the principal instructor in Genoa, and I shall mention his most conspicuous scholars. We may commence with his relative, Gio. Batista Casone, changed by Orlandi into Carlone, who did not paint much in Genoa. If we may judge from the altar-piece delle Vigne, representing the Virgin surrounded [Pg 398]by saints, he retained the style of Fiasella, the colouring of which he endeavoured to invigorate. Gio. Paol Oderico, a noble Genoese, painted always with great care, was select in his forms, and possessed a strong and rich colouring. The PP. Scolopi have a picture by him of the S. Angiolo Custode, the work of a young hand, but bearing promise of great talents. His historical compositions are also to be found in galleries, but they are rare, according to Soprani, and placed among the most precious possessions. His portraits are not of such rare occurrence, and in these he displayed great talents, and had numerous commissions. We find but few public works of Francesco Capuro, in consequence of his being engaged by the court and individuals in Modena, where he passed a great part of his life, at a distance from his own country. He was among the stricter followers of Fiasella in regard to design and composition, but in his colouring he partakes of Spagnoletto, under whom he studied in Naples; and in the style of that painter he executed some pictures of half-size, which probably procured him his highest reputation. We have still fewer public works by the young Luca Saltarello; but a S. Benedetto, in the church of S. Stefano, in the act of restoring a dead person to life, a picture of sober colouring, beautifully harmonized, and full of expression and knowledge, sufficiently denotes his early maturity, and his capacity, if he had lived, of forming an epoch in his school. Being desirous of adding to his other [Pg 399]accomplishments the advantages to be derived from the ancient marbles, he repaired to Rome, and died there through excess of study.

Gregorio de' Ferrari of Porto Maurizio received from Sarzana instructions conformable to his principles, but which did not correspond with the genius of the scholar, which was naturally disposed to a style of greater freedom and grandeur. He repaired to Parma to study the works of Coreggio, and there made a most careful copy of the great cupola, which was purchased many years after by Mengs; and he returned home with a very different style to his first. Coreggio was his only prototype, and he imitated him most happily in the air of the countenances, and in many individual figures; but not in the general style of composition, in which he is not so ideal; nor in the colouring, as in his frescos he is somewhat languid. He is in general negligent in his drawing; so that, with the exception of the two pictures at the Theatines of S. Pier d'Arena, this censure attaches to all his works. In his foreshortenings and in his draperies he sometimes falls into affectation. He possesses however considerable attractions: he is ingenious and novel, and displays a vigorous, rich, and correct colouring, particularly in the fleshes. By these qualities his S. Michele, at the church of the Madonna delle Vigne, predominates amongst the pictures of that church: and it may be justly ranked with those Venetian productions in which the spirit and noble colourings atone for [Pg 400]the inaccuracy of the drawing. He was much employed in Turin and in Marseilles; and still more so in the principal palaces in his own country, particularly in that of the Balbi. There however the great names of that celebrated collection, both foreign and native, wage against him, as we may say, a continual war.

Valerio Castello is one of the greatest members of the Genoese School. He no sooner made his appearance amongst his fellow scholars than he distanced the oldest of them, and soon afterwards even rivalled his masters. The son of Bernardo, and the scholar of Fiasella, he followed neither the style of the one nor the other, but selected other prototypes more consonant to his genius, the Procaccini in Milan, and Coreggio in Parma; and from the study of these, and a grace wholly his own, he formed a style unique and peculiarly belonging to himself. If it is not the most correct, it seems to deserve pardon for its select composition, for its beautiful colouring and chiaroscuro, and for the spirit, facility, and expression, which always distinguish his pencil. He excelled in frescos, so as to please even by the side of Carloni; and is perhaps sometimes, as in S. Marta, even superior to him. In his perspectives he occasionally employed Gio. Maria Mariani d'Ascoli, who also lived in Rome. Nor was he inferior in oil pictures. He painted in the oratory of S. Jacopo the baptism of that saint, in competition with the chief of his contemporaries, and eclipsed them all, [Pg 401]with the exception perhaps of Castiglione. He worked also for collections; and in the royal gallery of Florence his Rape of the Sabines is highly prized, a subject which, on a more extended scale, but yet with some resemblance both of figures and architecture, he repeated in the palace Brignole. He is not however frequently met with, as he died early, and from the great celebrity he acquired, his works were in much request in all the first collections, and thus his productions were dispersed. He taught Gio. Batista Merano, and, after his own example, sent him to study at Parma, in which city he met with sufficient employment both from the prince and private individuals. The Slaughter of the Innocents, at the Gesù in Genoa, is pointed out to us as one of his best pictures, and is a copious and careful composition, extremely well arranged. We must not confound this artist with Francesco Merano, called, from his first employ, Il Paggio, a scholar and a respectable follower of Fiasella.

Returning to the scholars of Gio. Batista Paggi, one of them, who was himself the educator of a generous race to his country, was Gio. Domenico Cappellino. He had an extraordinary talent for imitation, whence, in his first works, he came very near his master. There was not in him that air of nobility that in Paggi and Bordone seems to have been derived from their birth and education. He possessed nevertheless other qualities of art which fail not to interest the spectator. This is [Pg 402]evident in the Death of S. Francesco, placed in S. Niccolò; and at S. Stefano in the S. Francesca Romana, who to a dumb girl imparts the powers of speech. They are works which possess in the whole a peculiar originality, and in the separate figures a natural charm, and an expression of the affections and a delicacy of colouring highly attractive. He afterwards changed his style, as may be seen in two pictures of the Passion at S. Siro, and in many others at Genoa, always vigorous, but less spirited than at first, rather obscure in tints, and removed from the manner of Paggi. He aimed at originality, and, finding her, pursued her without a rival.

He had the good fortune to be the instructor of a foreigner, one of those men of genius who in themselves illustrate a whole school. This artist was of the family of Pioli, which had already produced an excellent miniature painter called Gio. Gregorio, who died in Marseilles, and a Pier Francesco, a scholar of Sofonisba, who died young, with the reputation of being one of the best imitators of Cambiaso. Pellegro Piola, of whom we have now to treat, enjoyed a still shorter period of life, being assassinated at the age of twenty-three, by an unknown hand; and, as it is believed, through envy of his rare talents. It is not easy to describe very precisely the style of this young man; for, as a student, he studied all the best works and formed himself upon them, and willingly inclined to the more beautiful. He then tried a wider [Pg 403]flight, and pursued it always with exquisite diligence, and a taste which charms us; and whatever style he adopted he seemed to have grown grey in it. A Madonna by him, which is now in the great collection of the Marchese Brignole, was considered by Franceschini an original of Andrea del Sarto. His S. Eligio, in the street of the goldsmiths, was by Mengs ascribed to Lodovico Caracci. He however aspired at something far beyond mere imitation, and said that he had a mental conception of the beautiful, which he did not despair to attain if his life should be spared. But he was prematurely cut off, as I have stated, and his works in consequence are very rarely met with.

The rarity of the productions of Pellegro was compensated for by a brother, who filled the city and the state with his works. This was Domenico Piola, a scholar of Pellegro and Cappellini, the associate of Valerio Castelli in many works, and for some time an imitator of that master, afterwards of Castiglione; and, finally, the founder of a style bordering on that of Cortona. There is not in it a sufficient contrast; the forms are various, ideal for the most part, nor without beauty; the chiaroscuro is generally little finished; the design partakes of the Roman. There is, however, a considerable resemblance to Pietro in the distribution of the colours, and in his facility and despatch. He had a singular talent for the representation of children, and he refined it by the imitation of Fiammingo. He enlivened every composition [Pg 404]by their introduction, and in some palaces he interwove them in elegant friezes. From this soft and easy manner, examples of which are to be met with in every part of the Genoese territories, he could occasionally depart, as in the picture of the Miracle of St. Peter at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, painted at Carignano, where the architecture, the fleshes, the gestures, are highly studied; and there is a force of effect which seems to emulate the Guercino, which is opposed to it. He also departs from his ordinary style in the Repose of the Holy Family at the Gesù. Of three sons whom Domenico instructed, Paolo will be mentioned among the most excellent artists of a future epoch; Antonio commendably followed his father's style in his youth, but afterwards changed his profession. Gio. Batista could copy or follow the designs of others, but nothing beyond. This latter had a son, Domenico, who, whilst he was beginning to emulate the glory of his family, was cut off by death, and with him was extinguished a family which, for the course of nearly two centuries, had conferred honour on the profession.

Giulio Benso, the scholar of Paggi, excelled all his school in architecture and perspective. Genoa, perhaps, does not possess any work in this department superior to that of Benso in the Nunziata del Guastato; in the choir of which he represented one of those perspective pictures with balustrades and colonnades, in which Colonna and Mitelli so much excelled. These two artists were [Pg 405]great admirers of this work of Giulio, but to us it may perhaps appear too much loaded with ornament. He there represented the Glorification of the Virgin, and added some histories, in which he rigorously observed the laws of the sotto in su; an art then little practised in his school. Giovanni and Batista Carloni, who painted so much in this church, are surpassed by him in this department; nor do they much exceed him in composition and colour. Benso left but few oil paintings in Genoa; that of S. Domenico in the church of that saint is one of the best, and partakes more of the School of Bologna than that of Genoa.

Castellino Castello possessed a sober style of composition, like that of Paggi his master, and, as far as we may judge from various pictures, was a correct and elegant artist. He highly distinguished himself in the picture of the Pentecost, placed on the great altar of the church of the Spirito Santo. He, however, like many others of this period, is indebted for his celebrity to his success in portrait painting; in confirmation of which it is sufficient to state, that Vandyck was desirous of being commemorated by him, and painted him in return. This fact exalts his reputation even more than the commendations he received from contemporary poets, among whom were Chiabrera and Marino, whose features he also preserved for posterity. He was appointed portrait painter to the court of Savoy, and in this department he had a rival in his own family, in Niccolo his son, who was in [Pg 406]high reputation in Genoa when Soprani wrote. Some others of the school of Paggi, distinguished in landscape or in other branches of painting, are reserved for the conclusion of this epoch.

Paggi had a rival in Sorri of Siena. His style is a mixture of Passignano and Paol Veronese; and, if I err not in my judgment, of Marco da Siena also, whose Deposition from the Cross in Araceli was, in a manner, repeated by Sorri at S. Siro in Genoa. He there instructed Carlone and Strozzi, two luminaries of this school. Gio. Carlone repaired soon to Rome, and afterwards to Florence, where he was taught by Passignano, the father-in-law and master of Sorri. Passignano was not so remarkable for his colouring as for his design and grandeur of composition; but we have already observed, that the style of colour is that portion of the art least influenced by precept, and which is formed more than any other by the individual genius of the painter. Carlone possessed as great talents for composition as any of his contemporaries; correct and graceful in design, decided and intelligent in expression; and above all, he had an extraordinary brilliancy of colour in his frescos. In this branch he was anxious to distinguish himself; and although he saw eminent examples at Florence and in Rome, he did not adhere to them so much as, if I am not wrong in my conjecture, he attempted to follow, or rather to surpass and to reduce to a more pleasing practice, the style exhibited by Tavarone, in the histories [Pg 407]of S. Lorenzo. I have already described that style; the vigour, beauty, and freshness with which it prepossesses the spectator, and approximates the most distant objects. If, in respect of Giovanni, we wish to add any greater praise, it is that he surpassed Tavarone in these gifts; and besides, he is more correct in his contours, and more varied and copious in composition. But in all these qualities they were both excelled by Gio. Batista Carlone, a scholar also of Passignano, and a student in Rome, afterwards the associate of Giovanni, his elder brother, in principle and practice, whom he survived fifty years, as if to carry their style to the highest pitch of perfection.

The church of the Nunziata del Guastato, a splendid monument of the piety and the riches of the noble family of Lomellini, and an edifice which confers honour on the city, which has enlarged and ornamented it as its cathedral, possesses no work more astonishing than the three naves, almost nearly the whole of which are decorated by the two brothers. In the middle one the elder brother represented the Epiphany of our Lord, his Entrance into Jerusalem, the Prayer at Gethsemane, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Assumption of the Virgin, and other passages of the New Testament. In one of the smaller naves, the younger brother painted St. Paul preaching to the Multitude, St. James baptizing the Neophytes, St. Simon and St. Jude in the Metropolis of Persia; and in the [Pg 408]opposite nave three histories from the Old Testament, Moses striking the Rock, the Israelites passing the Jordan, and Joseph, on a high seat, giving Audience to his Brethren. All these stories seem to be adopted as giving scope to a fancy rich in invention, and capable of peopling these immense compositions with figures almost innumerable. It is not easy to mention a work on so vast a scale executed with so much zeal and care; compositions so copious and novel, heads so varied and so animated, contours so well expressed and so strongly relieved, colours so enchanting, so lucid and fresh after such a lapse of years. The reds (which perhaps are too frequent) are as deep as purple, the blues appear sapphires, and the green, above all, which is a wonder to artists, is bright as an emerald. In viewing the brilliancy of these colours we might almost mistake them for paintings on glass or enamel; nor do I recollect to have seen in any other artists of Italy so original, beautiful, and enchanting a style of colour. Some persons who have compared these colours with those of Raffaello, Coreggio, or Andrea del Sarto, have thought them too near bordering on crudeness; but in matters of taste, where the sources of pleasing are so many, and where there are so many gradations in the merits of artists, who can possibly gratify all? The similitude of style would lead the unskilled to believe them the works of the same master; but the more experienced are able to ascertain the composition of Gio. [Pg 409]Batista from a peculiar delicacy of tints and of chiaroscuro, and from a grander style of design. It has been attempted to ascertain more minutely his method of colouring; and it has been discovered, "that in decorating the ceilings and walls of rooms, he previously laid on the dry wall a colour ground, to protect his work from the action of the lime. These paintings were executed with the most delicate gradations, and the most surprising harmony; hence his frescos have all the richness of oil colours." These are the words of Ratti, and Mengs joins him in the encomium.

I have only enumerated the paintings which these artists exhibited in the Guastato, but Giovanni left numerous works in the same style and on similar subjects, at the Gesù and at S. Domenico in Genoa, and at S. Antonio Abate in Milan, where he died; without mentioning the many fables and stories with which he adorned various palaces in his native city. Of the other brother it is not equally easy to recount all that he painted in private houses, and in the before-mentioned churches, and at S. Siro and elsewhere. The histories of the chapel in the Palazzo Reale are amongst his most original and delightful works; Columbus discovering the Indies; the Martyrdom of the Giustiniani at Scio; the Remains of the Baptist brought to Genoa, and other Ligurian subjects. Nor is it easy to enumerate his many altar-pieces and oil pictures to be found in the churches. I shall limit myself here to the three [Pg 410]histories of S. Clemente Ancirano at the Guastato; pictures, characterised by such congruity, such truth, and such a peculiar horror, as to force us to withdraw our eyes from the inhumanity of the scene. Some persons may, perhaps, be indisposed to give full credit to all that I have written of Gio. Batista; as it seems incredible that an artist should be so little known, who united in himself the most opposite qualities; a wonderful skill both in oil and fresco; equal excellence in colour and design; facility and correctness; an immense number of works, and a diligence shewn by few fresco painters. But they who have viewed the works I have mentioned, with unprejudiced eyes, will not, I feel confident, differ far from me in opinion. He lived to the age of eighty-five, and lost neither his vigour of invention nor his genius for grand composition; nor the freedom of hand, and incomparably fine pencil with which he treated them. I shall allude, in another epoch, to his sons Andrea and Niccolo; but I must not neglect to observe, that both Pascoli and Orlandi have written of this family with little accuracy.

The other great colourist and scholar of Sorri was Bernardo Strozzi, better known under the name of the Capuchin of Genoa, from his professing that order. He is also called il Prete Genovese, because he left the cloister, when a priest, to contribute to the support of an aged mother and a sister; but the one dying and the other marrying, [Pg 411]he refused to return to his order; and being afterwards forcibly recalled to it and sentenced to three years of imprisonment, he contrived to make his escape, fled to Venice, and there passed the remainder of his days as a secular priest. The larger compositions of this artist are only to be seen in Genoa, in the houses of the nobility, and in San Domenico, where he executed the great picture of the Paradiso, which is one of the best conceived that I have seen. There too, in Novi and in Voltri, are various altar-pieces; and above all, an admirable Madonna in Genoa, in a room of the Palazzo Reale. Some of his works are also to be seen in Venice, where Strozzi was preferred to every other artist, to replace a Tondo, executed in the best age of Venetian art, in the library of St. Mark, and there painted a figure of Sculpture.

He, however, left few public works. Whoever wishes to see admirable productions, must observe his pictures in eminent collections; as the St. Thomas Incredulous, in the Palazzo Brignole. When placed in a room of excellent colourists he eclipses them all by the majesty, copiousness, vigour, nature, and harmony of his style. His design is not very correct, nor sufficiently select; we there see a naturalist who follows neither Sorri nor any other master; but one who, after the example of that ancient master, derives instruction from the multitude. There is a deep expression of force and energy in the heads of his men, and of piety in those of his saints. In the countenances of his [Pg 412]women and his youths he has less merit; and I have seen some of his Madonnas and angels vulgar and often repeated. He was accustomed to paint portraits, and in his compositions derived all his knowledge from the study of nature; and often painted half figures in the style of Caravaggio. The royal gallery at Florence has a Christ by him, called della Moneta; the figures half-size, and exhibiting great vivacity. He is esteemed the most spirited artist of his own school; and in strong impasto, in richness and vigour of colour, has few rivals in any other; or rather, in this style of colouring he is original and without example. His remains were deposited at S. Fosca in Venice, with this inscription: Bernardus Strozzius Pictorum splendor, Liguriæ decus; and it is his great praise to have merited this encomium in the seat and near the ashes of the greatest colourists.

Gio. Andrea de' Ferrari perfected himself under this master, having been previously the scholar of Castelli, whose feeble style may be detected in the Theodosius, painted by Ferrari as an altar-piece in the Gesù. In many works he is a respectable follower of Strozzi; as in the Nativity in the Duomo of Genoa, and in the Nativity of the Virgin, in a church of Voltri, full of figures which seem inspired with life. Although little known, and perhaps too little commended by Soprani, he is one of the first Genoese artists; and, to establish his reputation, it is sufficient to state, that he was the master of Gio. Bernardo Carbone, the chief of [Pg 413]this school of portrait painters. Even by the more experienced his portraits were often mistaken for those of Vandyke, or purchased at prices little inferior to those given for a true Vandyke. He also composed well, as may be seen in his picture of the King S. Louis at the Guastato. But this picture did not please the person who gave the commission, and a second was ordered in Paris, and afterwards a third, which successively superseded each other on the altar. But they did not prove satisfactory, and that of Carbone was restored to its place, and the other two were added as laterals, as if to attend on it.

Another deserving scholar of Strozzi resided a considerable time in Tuscany, and there distinguished himself; Clemente Bocciardo, from his great size called Clementone. He first studied in Rome, afterwards in Florence, and practising much with Castiglione, he formed a style more correct and ideal than that of his master, to whom, however, he is inferior in truth of colour. Pisa was his theatre of art, where, in the Duomo and elsewhere, he left some highly respectable works; over all of which, in his life, the preference is given to S. Sebastian, placed in the church of the Carthusians. He painted his own portrait for the royal gallery of Florence, which has had a better fate than those of many common artists, and remains there to the present day.

A third pupil of this school resided a considerable time in Venice, afterwards in Mirandola. [Pg 414]This was Gio. Francesco Cassana, a soft and delicate colourist, and master of Langetti. By the Venetians he was but little esteemed, and painted only for private collections. He afterwards repaired to the court of Mirandola, and painted a S. Jerome for the Duomo of that city, and other pictures in various churches, which enhanced his reputation. He was the founder of a family that conferred honour on the art. Niccolo, his eldest son, who became one of the most celebrated portrait painters of his age, passed the chief part of his life at Florence, and died at the court of London. The Grand Duke possesses some of his historical compositions, and some portraits full of expression, in the royal gallery, amongst which are two half figures of two court buffoons, admirably executed. It is said that his style, which nearly approaches to Strozzi, cost him great trouble, and that, when painting, he was so intent on his work as not to hear a person addressing him; and sometimes, in a rage, he would throw himself on the ground, exclaiming against his work as deficient both in colour and spirit, till snatching his pencil again he brought it to his wishes. Gio. Agostino, called l'Abate Cassana, from the clerical dress which he always wore, was a good portrait painter, but distinguished himself more in the representation of animals. There are many of his pictures in the collections of Florence, Venice, and Genoa, and Italy in general, and they often indeed pass under the name of Castiglione. The [Pg 415]third brother was Gio. Batista, and excelled in flowers and fruits, which he painted with great effect. They had also a sister, of the name of Maria Vittoria, who painted sacred figures for private collections, and who died in Venice at the beginning of the last century. In all I have said of the Cassana family I have adhered to Ratti, as to a native and correct author. Some who have written on the gallery of Florence, where the portraits of the three first are found, differ in some particulars, ascribing to the one works belonging to the other. Niccolo was in fact the one that there enjoyed the highest favour of Prince Ferdinand; and he it is who is mentioned in the note to Borghini (p. 316) where it is said that the picture by Raffaello, transferred from Pescia to the Pitti palace, was finished by Cassana. But with respect to this notice, and others regarding the Cassani, we may consult the Catalogo Vianelli, p. 97, where we find described a remarkable portrait of a young man studying, painted by Niccolò; and it is succeeded by a long memoir, which throws additional light on the history of this family.

I must now speak of another celebrated Ligurian, but neither a scholar of Paggi, nor of Sorri, nor indeed of any other considerable master, and almost self-instructed; for the elements of the art, which he learned from Orazio Cambiaso, a painter of mediocrity, could not carry him far. He was born in Voltri, his name Gio. Andrea Ansaldo. [Pg 416]He is the only one of the school who contested precedency in perspective with Giulio Benso, by whom, in a quarrel, prompted by jealous feelings of his talents, he was wounded: an attempt which was repeated by an unknown hand, after an interval of some years. Near the choir of the Nunziata, painted by Benso, we behold the cupola of Ansaldo, injured by damp, yet notwithstanding remarkable for a most beautiful division and grandeur of the architecture, and for many figures which remain uninjured. When we survey this fine work, we cannot refuse to this artist a great talent for the decoration of cupolas, which may be esteemed the summit of the art of painting, as the colossal is of sculpture. His other works in fresco, in churches and in private houses, are very numerous; and he is particularly admired for his works in the palace Spinola at S. Pier d'Arena, where he has represented the military exploits in Flanders of the Marchese Federico, the boast of this family. Amongst his oil pictures a St. Thomas baptizing three Kings in a church, is celebrated. It is placed in the chapel of that saint, and exhibits much vigour of design, a brilliant decoration of scenery and persons, and a display of graceful and delightful harmony. Such is his prevailing character, which is in part his own, acquired by an unwearied application, and in part derived from the Venetians, and especially Paolo. Ansaldo is one of those masters who painted both much and well.

[Pg 417]Of his scholars, the one who followed him the closest was Orazio de' Ferrari, his countryman and kinsman. He painted well in fresco, but better in oil. We need only inspect the Last Supper in the oratory of S. Siro, to form a most favourable idea of this young artist. Giovacchino Assereto profited more from the design than the colour of Ansaldo; in general he attempted his chiaroscuro in the manner of Borzone, his first master, as in the picture of S. Rosario at S. Brigida. Giuseppe Badaracco was ambitious of introducing a new style into his native place, and repaired to Florence, where he remained many years copying and imitating Andrea del Sarto. He left many works there in private collections, and I imagine they are there still; but, as always happens to copyists and imitators, his name is never mentioned, and his works pass as belonging to the school of Andrea. In Genoa itself his name is almost lost. It is known that he in general painted for collections; but not for what houses. I found in the house of a gentleman of Novi an Achilles in Scyros, with the name of Badaracco, and with the date of 1654. In this work the artist seems to have forgotten Andrea, and to have followed the naturalists of his own country. There is no public work by him except a S. Philip, which is preserved in the sacristy of S. Niccolò in Voltri.

To the foregoing masters we may add Gio. Batista Baiardo, of I know not what school, but certainly [Pg 418]commendable for the talents displayed in his pictures at the portico of S. Pietro, and in the convent of S. Agostino, painted with vigour, freedom, and grace. The inferior works in that convent are certainly by another hand. Baiardo, Badaracco, Oderico, Primi, Gregorio de' Ferrari, and others in this school, were carried off by the plague in 1657. But we have now spoken sufficiently of the higher class of works, and shall here pass to those of another kind, completing the notices which we have occasionally interspersed before.

We have often spoken of portrait painting, a lucrative branch of the art in every capital, and more cultivated in Genoa than in most cities. Besides the noble models of art left, as we have before mentioned, by the best Flemish artists, those of Del Corte, a scholar of Titian, and of his son Cesare, were of great service. From the school of this master arose a succession of noble portrait painters, instructed by Luciano Borzone, who in the time of Cerano and Procaccini also studied in the Milanese School, and derived benefit from it; an artist highly esteemed by Guido Reni. He is entitled to a place in the higher walks of art for his numerous paintings for the churches and for collections; where however his greatest merit is the expression, which as a good portrait painter, or rather naturalist, he gives to his heads, which partake more of natural truth than of select beauty. The folds of his drapery are true and simple, and his style on the whole is not so strong as that of Guercino, but sufficiently [Pg 419]so to please the eye. The Presentation at S. Domenico, and the B. Chiara at S. Sebastiano, are of this character. But his best works are at S. Spirito, where he painted six pictures, and amongst them the Baptism of Christ, which is much extolled. He initiated in his own profession two sons, Gio. Batista and Carlo, who on his death finished some of his pictures in a manner not to be distinguished from his own hand. Carlo surpassed his brother in small portraits; and with him Gio. Batista Mainero, Gio. Batista Monti, Silvestro Chiesa, all scholars of Borzone, all worthy of commemoration, and all of whom shared the same fate, being carried off by the pestilence of the year 1657.

The first who distinguished himself in the lower branch of the art in the Genoese School was Sinibaldo Scorza, born in Voltaggio, who, guided by a natural genius, and directed by Paggi, proved an excellent painter of landscapes enlivened by figures of men and animals in the style of Berghem. It would be difficult to name an artist in Italy who so successfully engrafted the Flemish style on his own. I have seen a picture of cattle passing a stream, in the collection of the illustrious Carlo Cambiaso, where the animals rival those of Berghem, and the human figures appear painted by a superior artist. Other collections possess specimens of him in sacred subjects and classical fables; in which he rises far above the Flemish artists. He also painted in miniature, if indeed his [Pg 420]oil paintings, from the care bestowed on them, ought not themselves to be called miniatures. His works were celebrated by the poets of the age, particularly by Marini, who introduced him to the court of Savoy. He was engaged, and employed there until hostilities took place between the governments of Piedmont and Genoa, which obliged him to return home. He was then denounced to the government by some malicious rivals as a partizan of Savoy, and passed two years in exile between Massa and Rome. From thence he returned much improved, whence his latter pictures far exceed the first in invention and copious composition.

Antonio Travi, more commonly called Il Sestri, or Il Sordo di Sestri, from being a grinder of colours in the studio of Strozzi, and a friend of the Flemish artist Waals, soon emulated both the one and the other. He learned from the latter the art of painting landscape, with buildings in perspective, and ruins; and he afterwards copied from nature the beautiful country of the Riviera, with avenues of trees and rich orchards. But as Waals was a feeble painter of figures, Travi availed himself of the instructions of Strozzi to enliven his landscapes with beautiful and spirited figures, not so much painted as sketched with a few strokes by a master's hand, to gratify the eye when viewed at a distance. Thus, although his landscapes are not highly finished, they please us by their agreeable disposition, by their azure skies, the verdure of the trees, and their freedom of touch. The state [Pg 421]abounds with his pictures; but a great proportion of those that bear his name are by his sons, who succeeded him in his profession, but not with their father's talents.

Ambrogio Samengo and Francesco Borzone deserve also to be enumerated among the landscape painters. Ambrogio was the scholar of Gio. Andrea Ferrari, a painter of flowers and fruit; and his works are rare in consequence of his early death. Francesco, after a miraculous escape from the plague, applied himself to the composition of marine subjects and landscapes in the style of Claude and Dughet; and his pictures, from their clearness, sweetness, and fine effect, attracted the notice of Louis XIV., who invited him to his court, where he remained many years; and this is the reason of the scarcity of his works in Italy. We might here mention Raffaele Soprani, the biographer of the Genoese artists, and many noble Genoese with him; but in a work where the names of many painters themselves are omitted, it will not be expected that we should record all the amateurs of the art.

I may place in this class of artists Gio. Benedetto Castiglione; not that he wanted talents for larger works, as many altar-pieces in Genoa, and particularly the very beautiful Nativity in St. Luke, one of the most celebrated pictures in the city, sufficiently prove, but because the great reputation which he has acquired in Europe has been derived from his cabinet pictures, where he [Pg 422]has represented in a wonderful manner animals, either alone or as accessories to the subject. In this department of the art he is, after Bassano, the first in Italy; and between these two the same difference exists as between Theocritus and Virgil; the first of whom is more true to nature and more simple, the second more learned and more finished. Castiglione, the scholar of those accomplished artists Paggi and Vandyke, ennobles the fields and woods by the fertility and novelty of his invention, by his classical allusions, and his correct and natural expression of the passions. He displays a freedom of design, a facility, grace, and generally a fulness of colour; but in some pictures a greater richness is desired by Maratta. The general tone is cheerful, and often reddish. We find by him in collections large pictures of animals with figures, as in that belonging to his Excellency the Doge Agostino Lomellino; at other times sacred subjects, among which the most celebrated are those from Genesis, the creation of animals, and their entry into the ark; and the return of Jacob with a numerous body of servants and cattle, a stupendous performance in the Palazzo Brignole Sale. Sometimes we find fabulous compositions, as the Transformations of Circe, in the collection of the Grand Duke of Tuscany; at other times hunting pieces, as that of the Bull in the collection of the Marchesi Riccardi at Florence; often markets and shews of cattle in the Flemish manner, and always more finished and more gay when [Pg 423]painted on a smaller scale. Such is a Tobias in the act of recovering his sight, a most elegant picture, which I saw in possession of the Gregori family at Foligno. It would require a volume, as Soprani observes, to describe all his pictures in Genoa; but there is an abundance of them, not to mention those abroad, in every part of Italy, as he studied both at Rome and Venice, and a longer time at Mantua, where he died in the service of the court. He there, for the correctness and beauty of his colouring, obtained the name of Grechetto; and, for his peculiar style of etching, he was also called a second Rembrandt. In that city are to be found some pictures in his manner by his son Francesco and his brother Salvatore, in which they often make near approaches to him. Francesco repaired afterwards to Genoa, where he employed himself in painting animals, which less experienced connoisseurs sometimes ascribe to Gio. Benedetto. No Genoese, except Francesco, rivalled him in this branch; for Gio. Lorenzo Bertolotti, who studied under him for some time, dedicated himself to the painting of altar-pieces; and in that of the church of the Visitation he highly distinguished himself. Anton Maria Vassallo was a reputable painter of landscape, flowers, fruits, and animals. His chief merit is in his colouring, which he learned from Malò, the scholar of Rubens. He excelled also in figures; but his short life did not allow him to obtain a more extended celebrity.

[Pg 424]



The Roman and Parmesan succeed to the Native Style. Establishment of an Academy.

Many masters of this school being cut off by the plague in the year 1657, others deceased in the course of nature, not a few incapacitated from age, and some also turned to mannerism, the Genoese School fell into such a state of decline, that most of the young artists had recourse to other cities for instruction, and in most instances repaired to Rome. In consequence, from the beginning of this century to our own days, the Roman style has predominated among these painters, varying, according to the schools from which it descended, and according to the scholars that practised it. Few of them have preserved the style unmixed; and some have formed from the Roman and the Genoese a third manner, deserving of commendation. On this account my readers should be cautioned not to judge of these artists from works which some of them left when studying in Rome, as I have known to be sometimes the case. Artists ought to be estimated by their mature works, which, in this art, are like the corrected editions [Pg 425]of a work in letters, by which every author wishes to be judged.

I noticed, in a former volume, Gio. Batista Gaulli. This artist, after many years practice under Luciano Borzone, unwilling to remain in a city depopulated by the plague, went to Rome; and there, by studying the best masters and by the direction of Bernino, made himself master of a new style, grand, vigorous, full of fire, his children gracefully drawn, and altogether enchanting. He contributed some pupils to the Roman School, and two of them he educated for their native school; Gio. Maria delle Piane, called, from his father's profession, II Molinaretto, and Gio. Enrico Vaymer. Their pictures were composed in a good style, and there are some of their works in the churches of Genoa; particularly of the first, by whom there is at Sestri di Ponente a Decollation of St. John the Baptist, highly celebrated. But they owed both their fame and their fortune to portrait painting. The accomplishments of their master in that respect, above all other artists, insured them a reputation, whence they abounded in commissions, both in Genoa, which on that account is full of portraits painted by them, and also in foreign countries. Vaymer was three times called to Turin to paint the king and royal family; and was invited by very considerable offers to remain there, which he, however, always rejected. Molinaretto, after several visits to Parma and Piacenza, where he furnished the court with portraits, [Pg 426]and left some pictures in the churches, was invited by King Charles of Bourbon to Naples, where he died, in a good old age, painter to the court.

Pietro da Cortona also contributed some good scholars to Genoa. A doubtful celebrity remains to Francesco Bruno of Porto Maurizio, who left in his native country some altar-pieces in the style of Pietro, and a copy of one of the pictures of that master. He is an unequal painter, if, indeed, we may not conclude, with Sig. Ratti, that some inferior works are improperly ascribed to him by common report. With still less foundation Francesco Rosa of Genoa is conjectured to have sprung from this school, who studied about the same time in Rome. The frescos and oil pictures which he left in that city, at S. Carlo al Corso, and particularly at the churches of S. Vincenzio and Anastasio, evince him a follower of a different style. He there approaches Tommaso Luini and the dark mannerists of that period. He painted in a much better style, at Frari in Venice, a Miracle wrought by S. Antonio; a large composition, in which besides a most beautiful architecture he displays much knowledge of the naked figure, good effect of chiaroscuro, great vivacity in the heads; in the latter, however, little select, and in the general effect partaking more of Caracci than Cortona.

There is no doubt that Gio. Maria Bottalla was instructed by Cortona. The Cardinal Sacchetti, his patron, from his happy imitation of Raffaello [Pg 427]surnamed him Raffaellino; an appellation which I am not sure was confirmed to him in Rome, and it certainly was refused to him in Genoa. In both those cities he left very considerable works, in which he did not go so far in his imitation of Pietro, as to neglect the style of Annibal Caracci. A large composition of Jacob, by his hand, is to be seen in the collection of the Campidoglio, formerly in the Sacchetti; and there exists in the Casa Negroni in Genoa, a picture in fresco by him. Both are very considerable works for a painter who had not passed his thirty-first year. Another undoubted scholar of Pietro was Gio. Batista Langetti, although in his colouring he adhered more to the elder Cassana, his second master. Langetti is one of the foreign painters who, after 1650, flourished in Venice, and excited the poetic genius of Boschini. He extols him as an artist eminent in design and execution;[69] and this commendation is confirmed by Zanetti; with an understanding, however, that this extends only to his more studied pictures; as, for instance, his Crucifixion in the church delle Terese. As to the rest he generally painted for profit; painting heads of old men, philosophers, and anchorets, for which he is very remarkable in Venetian and Lombard collections. It is said that he was accustomed to [Pg 428]paint one a day; his portraits were always drawn with truth, without adding that ideal grandeur which we so much admire in the Greek sculptures in similar subjects. He animated these countenances, however, with a strength of colour and with a vigour of pencil that caused them to be highly sought after; often receiving for them not less than fifty ducats a-piece. His name is not found in the Abbeccedario, which is not to be wondered at, for in so vast a work it is impossible to notice every individual artist.

But the greater number of scholars that Genoa sent to Rome attached themselves to Maratta. Gio. Stefano Robatto of Savona repaired twice to his school, and remained in it several years. He matured his genius, by visiting other schools of Italy, and went also into Germany, and at a mature age settled in his own country. He there executed some works that confer honour on her; as the St. Francis receiving the Stigmata, painted in fresco in the cloister of the Cappuchins. Others of these, his first works, have obtained unqualified praise, especially for their colouring, which excited even the admiration of the professors of Genoa, accustomed to study the first works of art. But he afterwards gave himself up to gaming, and, losing all desire of distinction, he degraded both his pencil and his name, producing, like a mechanic, works of mediocrity at a trifling price. Hence it may be said, that Savona had not a better nor a worse painter than Robatto.

[Pg 429]Gio. Raffaello Badaracco, the son of Giuseppe, who is mentioned in a former epoch, passed from the school of his father to that of Maratta; and afterwards, aspiring to a freer style, he became in a great measure Cortonesque, very soft in execution, of a good impasto, with an abundance of the finest ultramarine, which has conferred on his pictures both durability and celebrity. His historical subjects are very numerous in collections; the Certosa of Polcevera possesses two of the largest, from the history of the patron saint. A Rolando Marchelli was a fine scholar of Maratta; but, attaching himself to merchandise, he left few works.

The most remarkable in this band are the sons of three celebrated masters; Andrea Carlone, Paolgirolamo Piola, and Domenico Parodi. The first was son of Giambatista, from whose style and that of Rome, and afterwards from that of Venice, he formed a mixed manner, which, if I mistake not, is more pleasing in oil than in fresco. He painted much in Perugia and the neighbouring cities; far from the finish and grace of his father, and less happy in composition; but displaying a Venetian style of freedom, vigour, and spirit; particularly in some histories of S. Feliciano, painted at Foligno, in the church of that saint. Returning to Rome, he improved his manner; and his works after that period are much his best. Such are some passages from the life of S. Xavier, at the Gesù in Rome; and many poetical subjects at Genoa, in the palaces Brignole, Saluzzo, and [Pg 430]Durazzo. This painter affords an excellent admonition to writers on art, not to form their judgment too hastily on the merit of artists, without having first seen their best productions. Whoever judged of Carlone from the picture he painted at the Gesù in Perugia, would not persuade himself that he could, in Genoa, have left so many fine works as to be ranked, according to Ratti, among the painters of Genoa most worthy of commemoration. Niccolò, his brother, may be also added as his scholar. He is the least celebrated of the family; not that he wanted talent, but it was not of a transcendant kind.

Piola, the son of Domenico, as I have noticed in a former place, is one of the most cultivated and finished painters of this school; a true disciple of Maratta, as regards his method of carefully studying and deliberately executing his works, but otherwise not his close imitator. In this respect it should seem he attached himself more to the Caracci, whom he very much copied in Rome; and traces of this style may be seen in his beautiful picture of S. Domenico and Ignazio, in the church of Carignano, and in every place where he painted. It is known that he was rebuked by his father for slowness; but by this he was not moved; intent on a more exalted walk than his father, and exhibiting more selection, grandeur, tenderness, and truth. He had singular merit in works in fresco; and being a man of letters, he designed extremely well fables and historical subjects, in decorating [Pg 431]many noblemen's houses. His Parnassus, painted for Sig. Gio. Filippo Durazzo, has been much praised; and it is added, that that nobleman said, that he was glad he had not sent for Solimene from Naples, whilst Genoa possessed such an artist. Had he painted less on walls and more on canvass, his merit would have become known also to foreigners.

Domenico Parodi was, like his father, a sculptor, and moreover an architect; but he owed his reputation to painting. Less equal to himself than Piola, he enjoyed a greater fame; as he had a more enlarged genius, a more extended knowledge of letters and the arts, a more decided imitation of the Greek design, and a pencil more pliable to every style. He first studied in Venice under Bombelli, and there remain, in a casa Durazzo, some excellent copies of Venetian pictures made at that period; nor did he forsake this style during the many succeeding years that he studied in Rome. He painted, in a good Marattesque style, the noble picture of S. Francesco di Sales at the Filippini, and several other pictures; but of him, as well as of the Caracci, we find works partaking in an extraordinary manner of the style of Tintoretto or Paolo, and which are described in his life. His most celebrated work is the Sala of the palace Negroni. Some professors have expressed their opinion, that there is not so fine a performance in all Genoa; and it is a fact, that Mengs's attention was there arrested for several hours by a painter that [Pg 432]he had never before heard of. A correct design, a vigour and harmony of colour, a mode of decorating the walls peculiarly his own, attempted by many, but not understood by any, render this a most remarkable production; nor is it a little aided by the poetical invention and the beautiful distribution and grouping of the figures. The whole is devoted to the glory of this noble family, whose escutcheon is crowned by Prudence, Continence, and other virtues, expressed by their several symbols; and there are also fables of Hercules slaying the Lion, and Achilles instructed by Chiron, which indicate the honours acquired by this family in letters and in arms. Portraits are added to these decorations, and every part is so well connected, and so well varied, and so enriched by vestures, drapery, and other ornaments, that, though many noble families may boast of being more highly celebrated by the muse, few have obtained such distinguished honours from the sister art. Other noble houses were also ornamented by him in fresco; and the gallery of the Sig. Marcello Durazzo, decorated with stories, and fables, and chiariscuri, which might be taken for bassi-relievi, is a work much resembling the one just described. In some pictures, as in the S. Camillo de' Lellis, he does not seem the same; and probably some of his scholars had the greater share in them. His most celebrated scholar was the priest Angiolo Rossi, one of the best imitators, in humorous subjects, of Piovan Arlotto; and in painting a good follower of Maratta, [Pg 433]though he left but few works. Batista Parodi was the brother of Domenico, but not the scholar; he partook of the Venetian School; expeditious, free, fertile in invention, and brilliant in colouring, but not sufficiently select, nor equal to the better artists. He lived for some time in Milan and Bergamo. Pellegro, the son of Domenico, resided in Lisbon, and was a celebrated portrait painter in his day.

The Abate Lorenzo, the son of Gregorio Ferrari, though educated in Genoa, had much of the Roman style. He was one of the most elegant painters of this school, and an imitator of the foreshortenings and the graces of Coreggio, as was his father, but more correct than he, and a good master of design. In refining on delicacy he sometimes falls into languor; except when he painted in the vicinity of the Carloni, (as in the palace Doria, at S. Matteo), or some other lively colourist. He then invigorated his tints, so that they possess all the brilliancy of oil, and yield the palm to few. He excelled in fresco, like most of this school, and is almost unrivalled in his chiaroscuro ornaments. The churches and palaces abound with them; and in the palace of the noble family of Carega is a gallery, his last work, decorated with subjects from the Æneid, and ornamented with arabesques, stuccos, and intaglios, by artists under his direction. He also painted historical subjects. In his first public works he painted from his father's designs; afterwards, as in the picture of various [Pg 434]saints of the Augustine order, at the church of the Visitation, he trusted to his own genius, and enriched his school with the best examples. He too was a painter whose reputation was not equal to his merits.

In Bartolommeo Guidobono, or Prete di Savona, we find the delicate pencil of Ferrari, and an imitation of Coreggio, but with less freedom of style. This artist, who was in the habit of painting earthenware with his father, at that time in the employ of the royal court of Savoy, established the first rudiments of the art in Piedmont; and I have seen, in Turin, some pictures by him partaking of the Neapolitan style of colour, which was at one time in favour there. He afterwards went to Parma and Venice, and by copying and practising became a very able painter, and had an abundance of commissions in Genoa and the state. He is not so much praised for correctness of design in his figures, as for his skill in the ornamental parts, as flowers, fruits, and animals; and this excellence is particularly seen in some fabulous subjects in the Palazzo Centurioni. He had diligently studied the style of Castiglione, and made many copies of him, which are with difficulty distinguished from the originals. He is not, however, a figurist to be despised; and it is his peculiar praise to unite a great sweetness of pencil with a fine effect of chiaroscuro; as in the Inebriation of Lot, and in three other subjects in oil, in the palace Brignole Sale. In Piedmont too there remain many works by him, and by his brother [Pg 435]Domenico, also a delicate and graceful painter, by whom there is in the Duomo of Turin a glory of angels, which might belong to the school of Guido. He would have been preferred to Prete if he had always painted in this style; but this he did not do, and in Genoa there remain of his, amongst a few good, many very indifferent pictures.

Before I quit the followers of the school of Parma, I shall return to the Cav. Gio. Batista Draghi, to whom I alluded in the third book. He was a scholar of Domenico Piola, from whom he acquired his despatch; and was the inventor of a new style, which I know not where he formed, but which he practised very much in Parma, and more in Piacenza, where he long lived and where he died. We may trace in it the schools of Bologna and Parma; but in the character of the heads and in the disposition of the colours there is a novelty which distinguishes and characterizes him. Though he painted with extraordinary celerity, yet we cannot accuse him of negligence. To a vivacity and fancy that delight us, he added an attention to his contours and colouring, and a powerful relief, particularly in his oil pictures. There are many pictures by him in Piacenza, and amongst them the Death of St. James in the church of the Franciscans, in the Duomo his St. Agnes, in S. Lorenzo his picture of the titular saint, and the great picture of the Religious Orders receiving their regulations from S. Augustin; a subject painted already in the neighbouring town [Pg 436]of Cremona by Massarotti, and well executed, but inferior to Draghi. The Sig. Proposto Carasi particularly praises the picture he painted at Busseto, in the palace Pallavicino. In Genoa he painted, I believe, only some pictures for private collections.

Orlandi, who does not even notice this excellent painter, places among the first artists of Europe Gioseffo Palmieri, who, together with the preceding artist, flourished in the early part of the eighteenth century. This praise seems exaggerated, and he probably refers only to the merit which Palmieri exhibited in his pictures of animals, which he was employed to paint even for the court of Portugal. Still in the human figure he is a painter of spirit, and of a magic and beautiful style of colour; very harmonious and pleasing in those pictures where the shades do not predominate. He is, however, reprehended for his incorrect drawing, although he studied under a Florentine painter, who seems to have initiated him well; for in the Resurrection at the church of St. Dominic, and in other pictures more carefully painted, judges of the art find little to reprove.

A Pietro Paolo Raggi obtained also celebrity in invention and colouring. I know not to what school to assign him, but he was certainly a follower of the Caracci in a S. Bonaventura contemplating a Crucifix; a large picture in the Guastato. There are Bacchanal subjects by him in some collections, which partake of the style of Castiglione, as Ratti has observed, and also of that of [Pg 437]Carpioni, as we read in one of the Lettere Pittoriche, inserted in the fifth volume. We there find him highly extolled. Nor is he any where better known than in Bergamo; where, amongst other works which he executed for the church of St. Martha, a Magdalen borne to Heaven by Angels is particularly esteemed. He is described as a man of a restless disposition, irascible, and dissatisfied with every place he inhabited. This truant disposition carried him to Turin, then to Savona, then afresh to Genoa, now to Lavagna, now to Lombardy, and last to Bergamo, where death put an end to his wanderings. About this time died in Finale, his native place, Pier Lorenzo Spoleti, formerly a scholar of Domenico Piola. His favourite occupation was to copy in Madrid the pictures of Morillo and Titian. By this practice he was prevented from distinguishing himself by any works of invention; but he became a very accomplished portrait painter, and was employed in that branch of the art at the courts of Spain and Portugal. He had also the habit of copying the compositions of others, and of transferring them with remarkable ability from the engraving to the canvass, enlarging the proportions and expressing them with a colouring worthy of his great originals. A copyist like this painter has a better claim to our regard than many masters, whose original designs serve only to remind us of our ill fortune in meeting with them.

Among these native artists I may be allowed to [Pg 438]commemorate two foreigners, who came to Genoa and established themselves there, and succeeded to the chief artists of this epoch, or were their competitors. The one was Jacopo Boni of Bologna, who was carried to Genoa by his master Franceschini as an assistant, when he painted the great hall of the Palazzo Publico. Boni from that time was esteemed and employed there, and established himself there in 1726. There are some fine works by him, especially in fresco, in the Palazzo Mari and in many others; and the most remarkable which he executed in the state is in the oratory of the Costa, at S. Remo: but we have spoken sufficiently of him in the third Book.

The other, who repaired thither three years afterwards, was Sebastiano Galeotti, a Florentine, and in his native city a scholar of Ghilardini, in Bologna of Giangioseffo dal Sole, a man of an eccentric and facile genius; a good designer when he pleased, a bold colourist, beautiful in the air of his heads, and fitted for large compositions in fresco, in which he was sometimes assisted in the ornamental parts by Natali of Cremona. He decorated the church of the Magdalen in Genoa; and those frescos, which first made him known in the city, are among his most finished productions; but he was obliged, after painting the first history, to soften his tones in some degree. He worked little in his native city, and that only in his early years; whence he does not there enjoy so high a reputation as in Upper Italy. He traversed it almost [Pg 439]all in the same manner as the Zuccheri, Peruzzini, Ricchi, and other adventurers of the art, whose lives were spent in travelling from place to place, and who repeated themselves in every city, giving the same figures, without any fresh design, and often the same subject entire. Hence we still find the works of this painter, not only in many cities of Tuscany, but also in Piacenza and Parma, where he executed many works for the court; and also in Codogno, Lodi, Cremona, Milan, Vicenza, Bergamo, and Turin, in which latter city he was appointed director of the academy. In this office he ended his days in 1746. Genoa was however his home, where he was succeeded by two sons, Giuseppe and Gio. Batista, who were living in 1769, and are mentioned with commendation by Ratti as excellent painters.

From the middle of the century to our own days, what from the evils of war in which Genoa was involved, and the general decline of the art in Italy, but few artists present themselves to our notice. Domenico Bocciardo of Finale, a scholar and follower of Morandi, possessed considerable merit in historical cabinet pictures; a painter of not much genius, but correct, and a beautiful colourist. At S. Paolo in Genoa there is by him a S. Giovanni baptizing the Multitude; and although there are many better pictures by him in the state, still this is sufficient to render him respectable. Francesco Campora, a native of Polcevera, also possessed some reputation. He had [Pg 440]studied in Naples under Solimene, from whose school came also Gio. Stefano Maia, an excellent portrait painter. A Batista Chiappe of Novi, who had spent much time in Rome in drawing, and had become a good colourist in Milan, gave great promise of excellence. In the church of S. Ignazio of Alessandria there is a large picture of the patron saint, one of his best performances, well conceived and well composed; a noble ground, a beautiful choir of angels, a fine character in the principal figure, except that the head does not present a true portrait. We should have seen still better works, but the author was arrested in his career by death; and he is described by Ratti as the last person of merit of the Genoese School.

This school was for some time scanty in good perspective painters. Although Padre Pozzi was in Genoa, he did not form any scholars there. Bologna, more than any other place, supplied him with them. From thence came Colonna and Mitelli, at that time so much esteemed; thither also repaired Aldovrandini and the two brothers Haffner, Henry and Antony. The latter joined the monks of the order of St. Philip in Genoa, and decorated the church of that saint and other places, and initiated in the profession Gio. Batista Revello, called Il Mustacchi. His works were also studied by Francesco Costa, who was an ornamental painter from the school of Gregorio de' Ferrari. These two young men, from the similarity of their profession, one which combines in itself the greatest [Pg 441]rivalry and the greatest friendship, became in process of time inseparable. They both conjointly served, for nearly the space of twenty years, the various historical painters mentioned in this epoch, preparing for them the perspectives and ornaments, and whatever else the art required. They are both alike commended for their knowledge of perspective, their grace, brilliancy, and harmony of tints; but Revello, in the embellishment of flowers, is preferred to his companion. Their best performance is considered to be at Pegli, in the Palazzo Grillo, where they ornamented a saloon and some chambers. There are also many works which they conducted separately, being considered as the Colonna and Mitelli of their country.

The most justly celebrated landscape painter of this epoch is Carlo Antonio Tavella, the scholar of Tempesta in Milan, and of Gruenbrech, a German, who, from the fires he introduced into his landscapes, was called Solfarolo. He at first emulated this artist; he then softened his style, from studying the works of Castiglione and Poussin, and the best Flemish painters. Amongst the Genoese landscape painters he ranks the next after Sestri. His works are easily distinguished in the collections of Genoa, particularly in the palace Franchi, which had more than three hundred pictures by him, and acquired for him the reputation of one of the first artists of the age. We are there presented with warm skies, beautiful distances in the landscape, pleasing effects of light; the trees, [Pg 442]flowers, and animals are gracefully touched, and with wonderful truth of nature. In his figures he was assisted by the two Pioli, father and son; and oftener by Magnasco, with whom he was associated in work. He sometimes inserted them in his pictures himself, copying them indeed from the originals designed by his comrades, but identifying them by a style peculiarly his own. Tavella had a daughter of the name of Angiola, of a feeble invention, but a good copyist of her father's designs. He had also many other imitators; amongst whom one Niccolò Micone, or as he is commonly called by his fellow-citizens Lo Zoppo, most nearly resembles him.

Alessandro Magnasco, called Lissandrino, was the son of one Stefano, who was instructed by Valerio Castello, afterwards resided many years in Rome, and died young, leaving behind him few pictures, but extreme regret for the death of an artist of so much promise. His son was instructed by Abbiati in Milan; and that bold and simple stroke of the pencil, which his master used in his larger pictures, he transferred to his subjects of humour, shows and popular meetings, in which he may be called the Cerquozzi of his school. His figures are scarcely more than a span large. Ceremonies of the church, schools of maids and youths, chapters of friars, military exercises, artists' shops, Jewish synagogues, are the subjects he painted with humour and delight. These eccentric pieces are not rare in Milan, and there [Pg 443]are some in the Palazzo Pitti at Florence, where Magnasco resided some years, a great favourite with the Grand Duke Gio. Gastone and all his court. When he accompanied other painters in their works, as often happened to him, he added very apposite subjects; this he did, not only in the landscapes of Tavella and others, but also in the ruins of Clemente Spera in Milan, and in other pictures of architecture. This artist was more esteemed by foreigners than by his own countrymen. His bold touch, though joined to a noble conception and to correct drawing, did not attract in Genoa, because it is far removed from the finish and union of tints which these masters followed; hence Magnasco worked little in his native country, and left no scholar there. In the school of Venice he educated a celebrated scholar, Sebastian Ricci, of whom mention has been made more than once.

Not many years since died Gio. Agostino Ratti of Savona, a painter of delightful genius. He ornamented the theatres with beautiful scenes, and the cabinets with lively caricatures, which he also engraved. He was clever in church paintings, as may be seen in the church of S. Giovanni at Savona, where, besides other subjects of the Baptist, there is a much praised Decollation. He painted also in the church of S. Teresa in Genoa; and was always a follower of Luti, whose school he had frequented when in Rome. He was also a good fresco painter; and I have seen his works in the choir of the Conventual church in Casale di Monferrato, [Pg 444]where he added figures to the perspective of Natali of Cremona. But subjects of humour were his forte. In these he had an exhaustless fancy, fertile and ever creative. Nothing can be more amusing than his masks, representing quarrels, dances, and such scenes as form the subjects of comedy. Luti, who was his master in Rome, extolled him as one of the first artists in this line, and even equalled him to Ghezzi. This information respecting Gio. Agostino was communicated to me by his son, the Cavaliere often mentioned in the course of this work,[70] and who died in 1795.

[Pg 445]The artists of this school, of our own day, will doubtless also receive their meed of praise from [Pg 446]posterity. They are now industriously occupied in establishing their own fame, and conferring honour on their country. The rising generation, who are entering upon the art, may look for increased support from the Genoese academy, recently founded for the promotion of the three sister arts. Within these few years the members of this academy have been furnished with a splendid domicile, with an abundant collection of select casts and rare designs. With such masters and so many gratuitous sources of assistance to study, this institution may be already numbered amongst the most useful and ornamental of the city. This establishment owes its existence to the genius and liberality of a number of noblemen, who united together in its splendid foundation, and who continue to support it by their patronage.

[64] It is inserted in the 7th vol. of the Lettere Pittoriche, p. 148.

[65] The decree is given by the Cavalier Ratti in the notes to Soprani. The names of the noble painters, amateurs of the art, may be found in those two authors.

[66] This work is extolled by Lomazzo as one of the best of Lazzaro; it is classed with the Triumphs of Giulio Romano, Polidoro, and other eminent artists, in the Trattato della Pittura, p. 398.

[67] A strict intimacy existed, especially between him and the Cav. Marino, among whose letters we may enumerate twenty-eight more to Castello than to any other person. It is pleasing to observe the dexterity of the poet, who often praises the "miraculous pencil" and the "divine hand" of the painter, an homage bestowed still more liberally in the Galleria; and the gratitude of the artist who designed and coloured for his friend gratis, and who exerts himself to requite every letter of the poet by some acceptable work of art, (p. 175).

[68] In the Dictionary of the Artists of Urbino the existence of this artist is rejected as fabulous; and it is attempted to substitute for him, in Soprani's work, Antonio Viviani, who was indeed in Genoa. Considerable weight is given to the conjecture, from the family of Antoniano not being mentioned in Urbino; and I may add the circumstance of not finding any other works of this Antonio than those named by Soprani and his copyists. And how is it possible that one who came to Genoa an accomplished master, should not have left, either in Urbino or the neighbouring territory, even a vestige or memorial of his pencil?

L'opera con bon arte, e colpi franchi,
L'osserva el natural con bon giudizio,
In l'atizar l'atende al bon ofizio,
Che i movimenti sia vivi e nò stanchi.
Carta del Navegar Pittoresco, p. 538.

[70] He had prepared for the press some further information respecting this school, both with regard to ancient and modern times. The MS. with which he favoured me to perfect this edition of my work, I have unfortunately, and to the great detriment of my own work, mislaid. He was not a great painter, but certainly not deserving of the contempt with which he has been treated. Gratitude, friendship, truth, and humanity itself call on me to say all the good I can of him; every thing that malevolence could dictate has been already recorded against him. We may therefore refer the reader to the perusal of the Defence of him before mentioned by us, and noticed afterwards with its true title, in our second index, under the head Ratti. There (whoever may be the author of it,) many works are enumerated which, in our opinion, would confirm to him the title of a praiseworthy artist. But he derives peculiar honour from the opinion of him expressed by Mengs, who proposed him as director to the academy of Milan; and some historical and national subjects being required in the royal palace in Genoa, Ratti was recommended to this honourable commission both by Mengs and Batoni, and he executed them to the entire satisfaction of the public. The more experienced judges pretend to detect in these works something more than an imitation of the great masters; and it is acknowledged, indeed, that he willingly availed himself of the designs of others, either painted or engraved; but how few are there of whom the same may not be said? Afterwards in Rome, where he lived four years in the house of Mengs, he executed under his eye some excellent works; as a Nativity, for which Mengs made the sketch; which, when painted on a larger scale by Ratti, was placed in a church in Barcelona. Being called on to paint a St. Catherine of Genoa, afterwards placed there in the church of that saint, Mengs designed for him the face of the saint, of an enchanting expression, and afterwards retouched the picture, rendering it a delightful performance. On this it may be observed, that great masters were not accustomed to shew such favours to their scholars and friends, except when they discovered in them considerable talent. As a copyist Ratti excelled in the opinion of Mengs; the latter purchasing, at a considerable sum, a copy of the S. Jerome of Coreggio, which Ratti had made in Parma. Another proof of the esteem in which he held him was his instigating him to write on art; for which they must have amassed great materials during the four years they lived together. In the before-mentioned Difesa we read of the academies that elected him, the poets and men of letters that extolled him, the cross of a cavalier that he obtained from Pius VI., the direction of the academy of Genoa, conferred on him for life if he had chosen to retain it; finally, the numerous commissions for pictures he received from various places; all these things have their weight, but the favourable opinion of Mengs is the strongest protection that this Defence affords to shield him from his enemies.

When the materials were prepared for the new edition, the Elogio of the Cav. Azara was published, where it is said that the MSS. of Mengs were given in a confused mass into the hands of Milizia, who took the liberty of modifying at his pleasure the opinions of Mengs respecting the great masters. This information, which comes from a very creditable quarter, I have wished to insert here for many reasons. It takes away from Mengs the odium of some inconsiderate criticism, or at least lessens it. It confirms what the Difesa of Ratti says respecting the true author of the Life of Coreggio, who was in fact Ratti; but, with some retouching, it was published as the work of Mengs, without reflecting that the author was there placed in contradiction with himself. It also shews us that Mengs, for his great name, was indebted not only to his acknowledged merit, but also to his good fortune, which gave him greater patrons and friends than were perhaps ever enjoyed before by any painter in the world.

[Pg 447]




Dawn of the Art, and Progress to the Sixteenth Century.

Piedmont, like the other states of Italy, cannot boast of a series of ancient masters; but it does not on that account forfeit its claim to a place in the history of painting. That enchanting art, the daughter of peace and contemplation, shuns not only the sound but the very rumour of war. Piedmont, from her natural position, is a warlike country; and if she enjoys the merit of having afforded to the other parts of Italy the protection necessary for the cultivation of the fine arts, she is at the same time under the disadvantage of not being able to insure them safety in her own territory. Hence, though Turin has ever been fruitful in talent, to obtain the decorations suitable to a metropolis, she has been compelled to seek at a distance for painters, or at least for pictures; and whatever we find excellent either in the palace or the royal villas, in the churches, in the public buildings, or in private collections, will be found to be wholly the work of foreigners. I may be told that the artists of Novara and Vercelli, and others from the [Pg 448]Lago Maggiore, are not strangers. That might be true after those communities were included in the dominions of the house of Savoy; but they, who were the first in this epoch, were born, lived, and died subjects of other states: and after the new conquests, these artists no more became Piedmontese from that circumstance, than Parrhasius and Apelles became Romans from the moment that Greece was subjected to Rome. For this reason I have classed these artists in the Milanese School; to which, though they had not belonged as subjects, they ought still to be assigned by education, residence, or neighbourhood. This plan I have hitherto persevered in: the subject of my history being not the states of Italy, but her schools of painting. Nor on that account will the artists of Monferrato be excluded from this place. This is also a recent addition to the house of Savoy, which first possessed it in 1706; but it is anterior to the other acquisitions, and its artists are scarcely ever named among the pupils of the Milanese School. We must also recollect that they either left many works in Piedmont, and that this is therefore the proper place to mention them, or that they did not quit their native country; and as it is impracticable to devote a separate book to that place, I have judged it best to include it in this state, on the confines of which it is situated, and to which it eventually became subject.

Confining ourselves therefore to the ancient state of Piedmont, and noticing also Savoy, and [Pg 449]other neighbouring territories not yet considered, we shall find little written of,[71] nor have we much to praise in the artists; but the ruling family, who have been always distinguished by their love of the arts, and have used all their influence to foster them, are entitled to our grateful recollections. At the time of their first revival Amadeus IV. invited to his court one Giorgio da Firenze, a scholar, I know not whether of Giotto or some other master: it is however certain that he painted in the castle of Chambery in 1314, and we find remains of him to 1325, in which year he worked at Pinarolo. That he from this time coloured in oil is doubted in Piedmont; and the Giornale of Pisa published a letter on that subject the last year. I know not that I can add any thing further to what I have already written on this question in many places of this work. Giorgio da Firenze is unknown in his native place, like some others who are commemorated only in this book, who lived much in Piedmont, or at least were better known there than elsewhere. In the same age there [Pg 450]worked at S. Francesco di Chieri, quite in the Florentine style, an artist who subscribed himself Johannes pintor pinxit 1343; and some feeble fresco painters in the baptistery of the same city. There are also some other anonymous artists in other parts, whose manners differ in some respects from the style of Giotto; among whom I may mention the painter of the Consolata, a picture of the Virgin held in great veneration at Turin.

At a later period, that is, about the year 1414, Gregorio Bono, a Venetian, was invited also to Chambery by Amadeus VIII., in order to paint his portrait. He executed it on panel; nor is it probable that he ever returned to Venice, as we find no mention made of him there. A Nicolas Robert, a Frenchman, was painter to the duke from 1473 to 1477; but his works have either perished, or remain unknown; and probably he was a miniature painter, or an illuminator of books, as they were at that time designated, artists who from the proximity of their professions are called painters, as well as the nobler masters of the art. About the same time it appears that there worked in Piedmont Raimondo, a Neapolitan, who left his name on a picture of several compartments in S. Francesco di Chieri, a piece estimable from the vivacity of the countenances and the colouring, though the drapery is loaded with gold, a mark of the little refinement of the times. Of another painter of this period there remains an indication in the church of S. Agostino in that city, from this [Pg 451]inscription on an ancient picture, Per Martinum Simazotum, alias de Capanigo, 1488. I find noticed also in the hospital of Vigevano a picture with a gold ground by Gio. Quirico da Tortona.

But no territory at this period furnishes us with such interesting matter as Monferrato, then the feudal state of the Paleologhi. We learn from P. della Valle, that Barnaba da Modena was introduced into Alba in the fourteenth century, and he certainly was among the first artists that obtained applause in Piedmont. We have cursorily noticed him in his school; for to judge from the way in which his works are scattered, he must have lived at a distance. Two pictures remain by him at the Conventuals at Pisa; one in the church, the other in the convent; both figures of the Virgin, of whom the second picture represents the coronation, where she is surrounded by S. Francis and other saints of his order. Sig. da Morrona praises the beautiful character of the heads, the drapery, and the colouring; and prefers him to Giotto. And P. della Valle speaks in the same terms of another picture of the Virgin, remaining in the possession of the Conventuals of Alba, which he says is in a grander style than any contemporary works; and he states that the year 1357 is signed to it. As to his assertion that the art in Piedmont had derived from him much light and advancement, I know not how to confirm it, as I have never been in Alba, and as I find a great interval between him and his successors in that [Pg 452]very city. Afterwards in the church of S. Domenico a Giorgio Tuncotto painted in 1473; and in that of S. Francesco a M. Gandolfino in 1493. To these may be added Gio. Peroxino and Pietro Grammorseo, well known for two pictures which they left at the Conventuals; the one in Alba in 1517, the other in Casale in 1523.

But the most distinguished artist in those parts, and in Turin itself, was Macrino, a native of Alladio, and a citizen of Alba; whence, in a picture which is in the sacristy of the metropolitan church in Turin, he subscribes himself Macrinus de Alba. His name was Gian Giacomo Fava, an excellent painter, of great truth in his countenances, careful and finished in every part, and sufficiently skilled in his colouring and shadowing. I am aware that the Sig. Piacenza has mentioned him in his notes to Baldinucci, a work which, to the loss of the history of art and just criticism, remains imperfect, and which I have not now at hand. I know not where Macrino studied; but in his picture at Turin, which is much in the style of Bramante and his Milanese contemporaries, he has placed as an ornament in his landscape the Flavian amphitheatre; whence we may conclude that he had seen Rome; or, if not Rome, at least the learned school of Da Vinci. I found by him in the Certosa of Pavia another picture, with S. Ugo and S. Siro; an inferior performance with respect to the forms and the colouring, but very carefully painted in all its parts. But, wherever he studied, he [Pg 453]is the first artist in these countries who made advances to the modern style; and he seems to have been held in esteem, not only in Asti and in Alba, which contain many of his large works and cabinet pictures, but in Turin, and in the palace of the prince; to whose family, as I conjecture, belonged a cardinal, represented at the feet of the Virgin, and of the saints surrounding her, in the picture at the cathedral. I am persuaded that he left other pictures in Turin; but that city, above all the other capitals of Italy, has perhaps been the most addicted to substitute modern pictures for the ancient. Contemporary with Macrino was Brea of Nizza, whom I mentioned in the school of Genoa, together with three painters of Alessandria della Paglia, all having lived in that state. I shall here only add Borghese of Nizza della Paglia, where, and in Bassignana, are pictures inscribed Hieronymus Burgensis Niciæ Palearum pinxit.

In the beginning of the sixteenth century, whether it was that the troubled state of Italy called the attention of the princes to more serious objects, or from some other cause, I do not find any interesting records. About the middle of that century it is supposed that Antonio Parentani flourished, who at the Consolata painted within the chapter house a Paradise with numerous angels. I do not know his country, but he followed the Roman taste of that age, and in a certain way diminished it. At this period the books of the public Treasury stand in the place of history, and guide us [Pg 454]to the knowledge of other artists. I am indebted for the information to the Baron Vernazza de Fresnois, secretary of state of his majesty, a gentleman not less rich in knowledge than obliging in communicating it. The before-mentioned books record a Valentin Lomellino da Raconigi; and after 1561, in which year he died, or relinquished his place, a Jacopo Argenta of Ferrara. Both the one and the other bore the title of painter to the duke; but the world cannot judge of their talents, as no work by them is known either in Turin or elsewhere; and it is probable they were rather illuminators than painters. A Giacomo Vighi is noticed by Malvasia and by Orlandi, who painted for the court of Turin about 1567, and was presented with the castle of Casal Burgone. The works of this painter too are unknown to the public; but not so the works of those who follow.

Alessandro Ardente of Faenza, though some make him a Pisan, and others a Lucchese,[72] Giorgio Soleri of Alessandria, and Agosto Decio, a Milanese miniaturist before mentioned by me, painted the portrait of Charles Emanuel, duke of Savoy, for which all three are praised by Lomazzo in his treatise, at p. 435. The two first were also appointed [Pg 455]painters to the court. They excelled in historical compositions as well as being celebrated portrait painters. By Alessandro we see in Turin at the Monte della Pietà the Fall of St. Paul, in a style that would lead us to believe he had studied in Rome. More of his works remain in Lucca; in one of which, a Baptism of Christ painted at S. Giovanni by this Ardente, the subject is treated in a highly original manner. (Guida di Lucca, p. 261.) In the neighbourhood also of that city are many of his works. The Sig. da Morrona also names him in the second volume of his Pisa illustrata, and informing us that he has not a sufficient account of him, concludes that he lived a long time out of Tuscany. I believe that he resided a considerable time in Piedmont, as I find some works by him out of Turin; as an Epiphany in Moncaliëri, inscribed with his name and the year 1592; and knowing further, that on his death, in 1595, a pension was assigned by the prince to his widow and sons; a proof in my mind that Ardente must have served the court many years.

Of Soleri, the son-in-law of Bernardino Lanini, I have given some account in the Milanese School, ( tom. iv. p. 278). He is also mentioned by Malvasia in tom. ii. p. 134, and compared with Passerotti, Arcimboldi, Gaetano, and with Del Monte of Crema, in portrait painting. His professional education however remains obscure, except as far as we are able to conjecture from his works. I have only been able to find two of his performances; [Pg 456]and I am not aware that any other are known. The one is in Alessandria, and serves as an altar-piece to the domestic chapel of the Conventuals. It represents the Virgin and the Saints Augustin and Francis recommending to her protection the city of Alessandria, which is represented in the background. The landscape is in the style of Bril, as usual with our painters before the Caracci; the figures are painted with more labour than spirit; the colour is languid; and the whole presents the style of one desirous of imitating the best period of the Roman School, but who had not seen or studied it sufficiently. But there is a more authentic picture in the church of the Domenicans of Casale, with the inscription, Opus Georgii Soleri Alex. 1573. It represents S. Lorenzo kneeling at the feet of the Virgin, who has with her the holy infant; near the saint three angelic boys are playing with a huge gridiron, his customary symbol; and are straining to raise it from the ground. Here we most distinctly trace the follower of Raffaello, in the chasteness of design, the beauty and grace of the countenances, and the finished expression; if indeed the design of these angels is not taken from Coreggio. To render the picture more engaging, there is represented a landscape, with a window, whence there appears in the distance a beautiful country, with fine buildings; nor are there many pictures remaining in the city at this day to be compared with it. If it had possessed a more vigorous colouring, [Pg 457]and a stronger chiaroscuro, there would be nothing more to wish for. When I consider the style, I know not to what school to assign it; for it is not that of Lanini, although his father-in-law; nor that of any Milanese, although he was in Milan. Perhaps, like others of his day, he formed himself on the engravings after Raffaello; or if he copied any other painter, it was Bernardino Campi, whom, if we except a certain timidity of touch, he resembles more than any other.

Soleri had a son, a painter of mediocrity, as may be seen in Alessandria in the sacristy of S. Francesco. The father, to propitiate his success in the art to which he destined him, had given him the two most illustrious names of the profession, calling him Raffaele Angiolo. But these names served only to flatter parental fondness.

With Alessandro Ardente and Giorgio Soleri we find mentioned a Jacopo Rosignoli of Leghorn, who was at that time painter to the court. His character is described in an epitaph placed over him at S. Thomas in Turin, which thus extols him: quibuscumque naturæ amœnitatibus exprimendis ad omnigenam incrustationum vetustatem; meaning grotesques, in which he imitated with success Perino del Vaga. We also find memorials of another painter to the court about the same time. The books of the Treasury call him Isidoro Caracca, and he seems to have succeeded to Ardente; for in 1595 his name begins to be found, to which others may perhaps add, in progress of [Pg 458]time, his country, school, and works. To me it seems that persons who have received such a mark of distinction, ought at least not to be placed among the vulgar; nor should a notice of them be neglected when they fall in our way.

We may add to these some others of doubtful schools, as Scipione Crispi of Tortona, who has derived celebrity from the Visitation, placed in S. Lorenzo in Voghera; and in Tortona itself there is a picture representing S. Francis and S. Dominick with the Virgin, with his name, and the date 1592. Contemporary with Crispi was Cesare Arbasia, of Saluzzo, supposed by Palomino, but incorrectly so, to be a scholar of Vinci, as I mentioned when I spoke of him before.[73] He resided some time in Rome, and taught in the academy of St. Luke, and is mentioned with commendation by the P. Chiesa in his life of Ancina, as one of the first of his age. He went also to Spain, where, in the cathedral of Malaga, there still exists his [Pg 459]picture of the Incarnation, painted in 1579; and there is an entire chapel painted by him in fresco in the cathedral of Cordova. He painted too the vault of the church of the Benedictines of Savigliano; in the public palace of his native place he executed also some works in fresco; and he was held in esteem by the court, who granted him a pension in 1601.

There is ground for believing that Soleri, who was married in Vercelli, and who lived in Casale, had a share in the instruction of the celebrated Caccia, surnamed Il Moncalvo, who gave to Monferrato its brightest days of art. We may with propriety say a few words on this subject before we return to Turin. Monferrato was some time under the Paleologhi; afterwards under the Gonzaghi; this is a sufficient reason for us to believe that it was willingly frequented by excellent artists. Vasari relates that Gio. Francesco Carotto was considerably employed by Guglielmo, Marquis of Monferrato, as well in his court at Casale as in the church of S. Domenico. After him other artists of merit resorted thither, whose works still remain to the public. We further know that these princes had a collection of marbles and pictures, which were afterwards removed to Turin, where they contributed to the ornament of the palace and royal villas. After what we have stated we cannot be surprised that the arts should have flourished in this part of Italy and the adjacent country, and [Pg 460]that we should there meet with painters deserving of our admiration.

Such an one was Moncalvo, so called from his long residence in that place. He was however born in Montabone, and his true name was Guglielmo Caccia. No name is more frequently heard by cultivated foreigners who pass through this higher part of Italy. He commenced his career in Milan, where he painted in several churches. He proceeded afterwards to Pavia, where he did the same, and where he was presented with the freedom of the city. But he is still more frequently named in Novara, Vercelli, Casale, Alessandria, and in the tract of country leading from thence to Turin. Nor is this the whole itinerary of such as wish to see all his works. We must often deviate from the beaten road, and visit in this district castles and villas, which frequently present us with excellent specimens, particularly in Monferrato. He there passed a great part of his life; having been brought up in Moncalvo, says P. Orlandi, an estate of Monferrino, where he had both a home and school of painting. He seems to have begun his career in these parts; and as his first works they point out, in the Sacro Monte di Crea, some small chapels with passages from the sacred writings.

P. della Valle describes his style at Crea as that of the infant Graces. He remarks that there are indications of his inexperience in fresco painting, and that by comparing his early works with his last we [Pg 461]may trace the improvement in his style. He attained such a degree of excellence as to be considered as an example to fresco painters for his great skill in this department. He is to be seen in Milan at S. Antonio Abate, by the side of the Carloni of Genoa: he there painted the titular saint, with S. Paul, the first hermit; and maintains himself in this dangerous contest. His picture in the cupola of S. Paul at Novara is a beautiful and vigorous painting, with a glory of angels, painted, as he generally did, in a delightful manner. In oils he was perhaps not so successful. I have seen few of his pictures painted with that strength with which he represented in Turin St. Peter in the pontifical habit, in the church of S. Croce. The picture of S. Teresa, in the church of that saint, is also well coloured; and it is celebrated for its graceful design, in which is represented the saint between two angels, overpowered at the appearance of the holy family, which is revealed to her in her ecstacy. To this may be also added the Deposition from the Cross at S. Gaudenzio di Novara, which is there by some considered his masterpiece, and it is indeed a work of the highest merit. In general his tints are so delicate, that in our days at least he appears somewhat languid, the fault perhaps of not having retouched his pictures sufficiently.

His style of design does not accord with that of the Caracci, which leads me to question the opinion prevalent in Moncalvo, that he was a pupil of that [Pg 462]school. One of the Caracci school would have studied fresco in Bologna, not in Crea; nor would he have adopted in his landscape the style of Bril, as Moncalvo has done; nor have discovered a preference of the Roman style to that of Parma. Caccia's style of design seems derived from the elder schools, as we may observe in it a manner which partakes of Raffaello, of Andrea del Sarto, and Parmigianino, the great masters of ideal beauty. And in his Madonnas, which are to be seen in many collections, he sometimes seems the scholar of the one, and sometimes of the other; one of those in the royal palace of Turin seems designed by Andrea. But the colouring, though accompanied by grace and delicacy, as I said before, is different, and even borders often on debility, in the manner of the Bolognese School which preceded the Caracci, and more especially of Sabbatini. He resembles that master also in the beauty of the heads and in grace; and if it could be satisfactorily proved that Moncalvo studied in Bologna, we need not look further for a master than Sabbatini. But I have before made the remark that two painters frequently fall into the same style, as two different writers sometimes adopt the same characters. And I have also observed, in regard to Moncalvo, that in Casale he had Soleri, a painter of a lively and elegant style; and that there, in Vercelli, and in other cities where he resided, there was not wanting to him the best examples of that graceful style to which [Pg 463]his genius inclined. He did not however shun nobler subjects; as his works in the church of the Conventuals at Moncalvo will shew, where there is a rich gallery of his pictures. Chieri also has specimens of him in two historical pictures in a chapel of S. Domenico. He there painted the two laterals of the altar; in the one is the resuscitation of Lazarus, in the other the miracle of the loaves in the desert; works remarkable for their richness of fancy, their excellent disposition, the correctness of the drawing, the vivacity of the action, and the first of which inspires both devotion and awe. They would confer honour on the noblest churches.

He executed many works, assisted by scholars of mediocrity; a thing which ought to be avoided by every good master. In Casale I heard a Giorgio Alberino enumerated among his best scholars; and on the relation of P. della Valle I may add to them Sacchi, also of Casale, as his companion in Moncalvo; who possessed a more energetic pencil perhaps, and more learning than Caccia. He painted in S. Francesco a Drawing of Lots for Marriage Portions; in which is seen a great assemblage of fathers, mothers, and young daughters; and in the latter the sentiments are most vividly expressed, so that we read the fate of each in her countenance; the face of one beaming with delight at the mention of her name, while another stands wishful, yet fearing to hear herself called. And at S. Agostino di Casale is a standard, with [Pg 464]the Virgin and saints, and certain portraits of the Gonzaghi princes; a picture ascribed to Moncalvo: but if we consult the style and the mode of colouring, I should rather attribute it to Sacchi.

Caccia taught, and was assisted in his labours by two daughters, who may be called the Gentilesche, or the Fontane of Monferrato, where they painted not only cabinet pictures but more altar-pieces than perhaps any other females. The contours of their figures are exactly copied from their father, but they are not so animated. It is said that their manner was so similar, that, in order to distinguish them, the younger, Francesca, adopted the symbol of a small bird; and Ursula, who founded the convent of Ursulines in Moncalvo, that of a flower. Of the latter her church and Casale also have some altar-pieces, and not a few cabinet pictures with landscapes touched in the style of Bril, and ornamented with flowers. A Holy Family by her in this style is in the rich collection of the Palazzo Natta.

Lastly I may record the name of Niccolò Musso, the boast of Casalmonferrato, where he lived, and left works which possess an originality of style. He is said by Orlandi to have been the scholar of Caravaggio for ten years in Rome; and there is a tradition in his native place that he studied under the Caracci in Bologna. Musso leans to Caravaggio, but his chiaroscuro is more delicate and more transparent; he is very select in his figures and in expression; and is one of those admirable painters almost unknown to Italy itself. [Pg 465]He did not live long, and generally painted for private individuals. He left however some works in public, and more than one in the church of S. Francis, representing that saint at the feet of Christ crucified, and angels partaking his lamentations and devotions. The portrait of this artist, painted by himself, is also in Casale, in the possession of the Marchese Mossi; and some memoirs of him were published by the Canonico de' Giovanni, as I read in P. M. della Valle.[74]

[71] A catalogue of the painters of Piedmont, and their works, is given by the Count Durando in the notes to his Ragionamento su le belle Arti, published in 1778. The P. M. della Valle has also written of them in his prefaces to the tenth and eleventh volumes of Vasari. Some valuable information respecting them has also been contributed by the author of the Notizie patrie, and more is to be found in the New Guide of Turin of Sig. Derossi, and in the first volume of the Pitture d'Italia. And, lastly, further notices are to be gathered from various works on art, of which we shall avail ourselves in the proper place.

[72] We ought to credit his own testimony. He painted three pictures at S. Paolino di Lucca, and in that of S. Antonio Abate he subscribes himself Alexander Ardentius Faventinus, 1565; so says Monsig. Mansi, Archbishop of Lucca, in his Diario. He however in other places in that little work, and Sig. Morrona in his Pisa, call him a Pisan, and others a Lucchese.

[73] Tom. iv. p. 257. One truth prepares the way for another. I have read in Sig. Conca, tom. iii. p. 164, that the style of Arbasia partakes of that of Federigo Zuccaro; an opinion I believe of Sig. Ponz, the principal guide of Conca. If Federigo about the same time was chief, and Arbasia master in the academy of Rome, the style of the first might be caught by the other. When we reflect that the style of Da Vinci is highly finished, correct, and strong, diametrically opposed to the facility and popular style of Federigo, we cannot accord to Palomino that authority and veneration which Conca bestows on him. What should we think of a critic who should endeavour to palm on us, as the production of the time of Horace, an ode written in the style of Prudentius?

[74] Pref. al tomo xi. del Vasari, p. 20.



Painters of the Seventeenth Century, and first Establishment of the Academy.

Returning now to Turin and to the seventeenth century, in the early part of which the painters, whom we have mentioned with commendation, were either still surviving, or only lately deceased, we meet with Federigo Zuccaro, who, in his journey through the various states of Italy, (of which Baglione speaks,) did not fail to visit Turin. He there painted some pictures in the churches, and commenced the decoration of a gallery for the duke; a work which, from some cause or other, was left unfinished. Baglione does not inform us that this gallery was destined for the reception of works of art, but it is highly probable that it was so; since, at that time, a considerable collection of ancient marbles,[75] designs, and cartoons, was already formed, which has been since enlarged, and is now preserved in the Archivio Reale; and a select cabinet of pictures, to which similar additions have been made, and which is now the principal ornament of the royal palace, and the villas of the sovereign. We there find the works [Pg 467]of Bellini, Holbein, and the Bassani; the two large compositions of Paolo, executed for the Duke Charles, and described by Ridolfi; several pictures of the Caracci and their best scholars, amongst which are the Four Elements by Albano, an admirable production; without mentioning others by Moncalvo and Gentileschi, both of whom resided for some time in Turin, and by other eminent Italian artists, or the best Flemish painters, some of whom remained a considerable time in that city. Hence, in this class of pictures, the house of Savoy surpasses every single house in Italy, or even many taken together.

But, to proceed in due course, we may observe, that, at the commencement of the seventeenth century, there existed in Turin a rich collection of pictures and drawings, the ornament of the throne, and subservient to the instruction of young artists, the care of which was entrusted to a painter of the court. We first find one Bernardo Orlando invested with this charge, who was appointed painter to the duke in 1617. This honour, in succeeding years, was conferred on many others, whose pencils were employed in Turin and the castle of Rivoli; where, however, many of their works were effaced in the present century, and others substituted by the two Vanloos. Some of these are unknown in the history of art, as Antonio Rocca and Giulio Mayno, the first a native of I know not what place, the latter of Asti. A della Rovere is also an unknown artist, mentioned in the Registers [Pg 468]from the year 1626; nor can this be the same who left, in the convent of St. Francis, a picture of very original invention, the subject of which is Death. It expresses the origin of death, in the transgression of Adam and Eve; and the fulfilment of it, by the thread spun, wound, and severed, by the three Fates, with other fancies in which profane and sacred ideas are confounded together. If the design of this picture cannot command our approbation, its other qualities are still prepossessing, and conciliate our esteem for the painter, who subscribes himself, Jo. Bapt. a Ruere Taur. f. 1627. But the name of the court painter was Girolamo. Baglione acquaints us with another, called Marzio di Colantonio, a Roman by birth, who excelled in grotesques and landscapes. There are also some others included in the list of ducal painters, whom we have before mentioned in various schools; as Vincenzo Conti in the Roman, Morazzone in the Milanese, and Sinibaldo Scorza in the Genoese. These and others, who painted in Turin and the neighbourhood about this time, will be found in the Lettere and the Galleria of the Cav. Marini, who resided for some time at this court. We must, however, consult him with caution, as he was a poet, and very readily augmented his gallery, by devoting a sonnet to every picture and drawing, so that artists of mediocrity valued themselves more on his applause than painters of merit.[76] [Pg 469]Thus Malvasia informs us, that he had frequently heard Albano boast of having refused Marini's request, the gift of a picture, for fear the poet should make it the subject of a sonnet, (tom. ii. p. 273).

The painters whom I have just mentioned were, most probably, the instructors of those artists of Turin and the states who flourished elsewhere; as Bernaschi in Naples, Garoli in Rome, and others who are said to have been also taught by foreigners, and who distinguished themselves in Piedmont. None of this number possess a stronger claim to our notice than Mulinari, (or, as he is more frequently called, Mollineri) whether with regard to merit, or the order of time. Most writers have considered him a scholar of the Caracci in Rome; from the imitation of whom he received the surname of Caraccino from his own countrymen. But I apprehend that this supposed residence of his in Rome proceeds from the common source of such mistakes, the resemblance of style, true or supposed. Della Valle mentions him [Pg 470]as being settled in his native place in 1621, and of forty years of age; languid and feeble in his contours, and improving himself by the assistance of some masters, his friends; to which we may perhaps add, the study of the prints of the Caracci, and some of their paintings. My suspicions are confirmed by the Count Durando, a well informed and cautious writer, who denies that positive proof can be given of the reported instruction of Mulinari, notwithstanding the surname of Caraccino, a title not difficult to acquire from the vulgar, in a city so remote from Bologna and Rome; as in some countries which have little knowledge of the true style of Cicero, a writer may pass for an elegant latinist, while imitating Arnobius. In other respects, in the pictures which have acquired him celebrity, he is correct, energetic, and, if not dignified, yet animated and varied in his male heads; for, as Durando himself confesses, his females are all deficient in grace. His colouring is also good, though not resembling the Caracci; his tints being more clear, differently disposed, and sometimes feeble. At Turin, the Deposition from the Cross at S. Dalmazio, is classed amongst his best works; but the composition is crowded, and very different from the principles of the Bolognese. In Savigliano, where Mulinari was born, and where he lived many years, pictures by him are found in almost every church; and his talent and merit are, in fact, only known in that place. There, and in Turin, we find some works by a worthy Flemish artist, named Gio. Claret, by some considered the scholar, [Pg 471]by others the master of Gio. Antonio in colouring, but at all events his intimate friend. He is an artist of a free and spirited pencil, and painted in several churches in competition with Mulinari.

Giulio Bruni, a Piedmontese, was a clever pupil of the Genoese School, first under Tavarone, then under Paggi, and remained painting in Genoa, until he was expelled by war. His works there, though not very finished, and too darkly coloured, were well designed, harmonious, and well composed. Such is, in the church of St. James, his St. Thomas of Villanova giving alms. History also mentions one Gio. Batista, his brother and scholar.

Giuseppe Vermiglio, although born in Turin, is not named in the Guide of that city. We find pictures by him in Piedmont, as at Novara and Alessandria; and beyond that dominion, in Mantua and Milan, in which last city is a work which is perhaps his masterpiece. The subject is a Daniel amidst Lions, in the library of the Passione, a large composition, well disposed, with fine architectural decorations, in the Paolesque style. The king and people are seen on a balcony admiring the prophet, untouched by the ferocious animals, while his accusers are, at the same instant, precipitated amidst the ravenous beasts, and torn to pieces. In the same composition is also represented the other prophet, borne through the air by an angel, by the hair of his head. We cannot exactly commend the design, which thus unites [Pg 472]events incongruous in point of time. But with this exception, this is one of the most valuable pictures painted in Milan, after Gaudenzio, for correctness, beautiful forms, expression highly studied, and colours warm, varied, and lucid. From the imitative style of the heads, it is evident that he studied the Caracci, and was not a stranger to Guido; but in the colouring it seemed as if he had imitated the Flemish artists. It is reported in Milan, perhaps from the resemblance of the style, that he instructed Daniel Crespi; a circumstance very improbable, since Vermiglio continued to work to the year 1675. For we find this date at the foot of a large picture of the Woman of Samaria, in the refectory of the PP. Olivetani, in Alessandria, which must be one of his last works, decorated with a beautiful landscape, and a magnificent view of the city of Samaria in the distance. I consider him the finest painter in oil that the ancient state of Piedmont can boast, and as one of the best Italian artists of his day. Why he painted so near Turin, and yet had no success in that city, and why he was not distinguished by his own sovereign, though well received at the court of Mantua, I have not been able to discover. We find one Rubini, a Piedmontese, certainly not of equal merit with the last artist, who, about the time of Vermiglio, worked in the church of S. Vito, in Trevigi, and whom we find mentioned in the MSS. of that city, or in the description of its pictures.

Giovenal Boetto, celebrated amongst the engravers [Pg 473]in Turin, deserves a place amongst superior artists, from a saloon painted by him in Fossano, his native place. It is in the Casa Garballi, and contains four pictures in fresco. The subject is the illustration of various arts and sciences. Theology is represented by a dispute between the Thomists and Scotists; and in that piece, and in the others, we must admire the truth of nature in the portraits, and the powerful chiaroscuro, as well as the design. Little else of him remains.

Gio. Moneri, some of whose descendants were also painters, was born near Acqui, and being instructed by Romanelli, he brought with him from Rome the style of that school. The first proofs of his art were given in Acqui, in 1657, where he painted in the cathedral the picture of the Assumption, besides a Paradiso in fresco, much commended. He continued to advance in his art, as we see both in the Presentation in the church of the Capuchins, and in other pictures of him remaining in the neighbourhood, exhibiting a greater copiousness, a finer expression, and a stronger relief. It is known that he worked in Genoa and Milan and their dependencies, and in several places in Piedmont; but among these we cannot include Turin; nor could it be easy for a provincial painter to find commissions, when the capital had artists in sufficient number to form an academy.

Until the year 1652 the professors of the art in Turin did not possess the form of a society, much less the appearance of an academy. In the above [Pg 474]year they first began to form themselves into a company, which had the name of St. Luke given to it; and which, in a few years, grew into the academy of Turin. We may consult, on this subject, the Memorie Patrie, published by the Baron Vernazza. The court, in the mean time, continued their salaries to the foreign painters, who were the ornament and support of the academy. They were about this time engaged in embellishing the palace, and afterwards that delightful residence, which was built from the design of the same Duke Charles Emanuel II., and had the name of the Veneria Reale. Their frescos, portraits, and other works, remain to the present day. After one Baldassar Matthieu of Antwerp, by whom there is a highly prized Supper of our Lord in the refectory of the Eremo, Gio. Miel, also from the neighbourhood of Antwerp, a scholar, first of Vandyk, and afterwards of Sacchi, was appointed painter to the court; a man of a delightful genius, extolled in Rome for his humorous, and in Piedmont for his serious subjects. In the soffitto of the great hall, where the body guard of the king is stationed, are some pictures of Miel, in which, under the fabulous characters of the heathen divinities, are represented the virtues of the royal house; he executed some others, and perhaps more beautiful ones, in the above named villa; and there is an altar-piece by him at Chieri, with the date of 1654. We trace in all his works his study of the Italian School; a grandeur and [Pg 475]sublimity of ideas, an elevation beyond his countrymen, an accurate knowledge of the sotto in su, and a fine chiaroscuro, not unaccompanied by great delicacy of colour, particularly in his cabinet pictures. The talent which he possessed in an extraordinary manner in figures of a smaller size, he exhibited more especially in the Veneria Reale, where he painted a set of Huntings of wild Beasts, in eight pieces, which are amongst the finest of his works in this department of the art. After him we read of one Banier, a painter to the court; in whose time, about the year 1678, the company of St. Luke, united since the year 1675 to that of Rome, was, with the royal assent, erected into an academy; and from this year may be dated the birth of that professional society so much enlarged in our own days. But of all who were at that time or afterwards in the service of the royal house, the most celebrated was Daniel Saiter, or Seiter, of Vienna. I have mentioned him as well as Miel in the Roman School, nor have I passed him over in the Venetian, in which he learnt his art, perfecting his style by the study of all the schools of Italy. His works are found in the palace and in the villas; nor has he occasion to fear the proximity of Miel himself. He yields to the latter, indeed, in grace and beauty, but is superior both to him and others in the force and magic of his colouring. Nor in Turin do we find in him that incorrect design which Pascoli attributes to him in Rome. But his oil pictures are [Pg 476]by far the most highly finished of his works; as for example, a Pieta in the court, which we should say was designed in the academy of the Caracci. He also painted the cupola of the great hospital, and it is one of the finest frescos of the capital. We also meet with him in the churches in various places in the state; and we find his works in many private collections out of Piedmont, as he painted considerably in Venice and in Rome.

Another foreigner, Carlo Delfino, a Frenchman, also flourished at this time; an artist of very considerable merit. From the registers of the archives we learn that he was painter to Prince Philibert; and from an inspection of his works we may conjecture that he was more employed in the churches than at the court, where we find him an animated and lively portrait painter and colourist. He painted some altar-pieces for the city, in which is displayed a genius more disposed to the natural than to the ideal, and a fire which gives life to the gestures and composition; but sometimes, if I do not estimate him wrongly, his ideas seem forced. Thus at the church of S. Carlo, wishing to paint a S. Agostino overpowered by the love of God, he represented a S. Joseph holding in his arms the infant Christ, who from a cross-bow directs an arrow against the breast of the saint. The saint struck, falls into the arms of angels, who employ themselves in supporting and comforting him. Delfino had a scholar in Gio. Batista Brambilla, who painted at S. Dalmazio a large picture on canvass, [Pg 477]of the Martyrdom of that saint, and was an artist of a correct style and a good colourist.

There were other painters employed by the court from the middle to the end of the century: some as portrait painters, as Monsieur Spirito, the Cav. Mombasilio, Theodore Matham of Haerlem, and others employed in larger works in oils and fresco. Giacinto Brandi, already mentioned among the scholars of Lanfranc, painted in the palace a sfondo, in competition with some others painted there by Saiter. Agostino Scilla of Messina, whom we have elsewhere noticed, painted some Virtues there, conjointly with Saiter. He was a fine artist, of more talent than industry. Gio. Andrea Casella of Lugano, a scholar of Pietro da Cortona, and one of his best followers, and sometimes in design an imitator of Bernino, painted in the Veneria Reale some fables, assisted by Giacomo, his nephew. Gio. Paolo Recchi da Como worked there in the same way in fresco, with the assistance of his nephew Giannandrea. Gio. Peruzzini, of Ancona, a scholar of Simon da Pesaro, was also patronised by the court, and was created a cavalier, and contributed by his lectures to the instruction of youth.

Casella, Recchi, and Peruzzini, repaired to Turin and united their talents in the embellishment of the churches of that city; and we may observe that, towards the close of the century, a great part of the commissions were executed by foreigners. To those already recorded we may add Triva, [Pg 478]Legnani, Cairo, and also a Gio. Batista Pozzi, who not succeeding to his wishes in his own country, as I believe, decorated with frescos a vast number of walls in Turin, and through all the Piedmontese. He was a hasty practitioner, but sometimes produced a good general effect, as in the S. Cristoforo of Vercelli. We find another, and a better artist of the same name in P. Andrea, a Jesuit, who resided for a long time in Turin, where, in the Congregazione de' Mercanti, he left four histories from the life of the Saviour, painted in oil in his best manner, a manner derived from Rubens, chequered by those beautiful and playful lights which may be said to irradiate the composition. He also painted in fresco, in the church of his order, but he was not satisfied with that work; and having afterwards also to ornament the vault of the church of his order at Mondovi, he repeated the subject, and executed it more to his satisfaction. There also we find Il Genovesino, so called from his native place, not so well known in Turin as in the state, particularly at Alessandria; a painter by no means deficient in grace and colour, whence he is much esteemed in cabinets. The PP. Predicatori have a S. Domenico by him, and a S. Thomas in two altars of their church; the Sig. Marchese Ambrogio Ghilini, a Christ praying in the Garden; the Marchese Carlo Guasco, two Madonnas, with the holy infant sleeping, two different designs. The name of this artist was Giuseppe Calcia, who in consequence of living in a [Pg 479]foreign country, is not noticed in his native history, and in the Notizia delle Pitture d'Italia, he is confused with Marco Genovesini, a Milanese mentioned by Orlandi. This artist was a considerable machinist, of whom there are no remains in Milan, except what he painted in the church of the Augustines; the genealogical tree, or history of that order, in the gallery, and two grand lateral compositions, in which the figures are finely varied and coloured, but not disposed and put into action with equal art. It would occupy too much time to enumerate all the foreigners who worked at that time in Turin, or throughout the state; and some of whom we have occasionally noticed in the various schools of Italy.

The native painters of reputation were not numerous at this time; and the most considerable, if I mistake not, were Caravoglia and Taricco. Bartolommeo Caravoglia, a Piedmontese, was said to be the scholar of Guercino: he followed his master's footsteps at a distance, affecting a contrast of light and shade; but his lights are much less clear than those of Guercino, and the shadows not so strong; a thing which does not occur in the works of the genuine scholars of that master. Notwithstanding this feebleness, he pleases us by a certain modest harmony which pervades his pictures, and governs also the invention, the design, the architecture, and the other decorative parts of his composition. In Turin is to be seen the Miracle of the Eucharist, painted in the church of the Corpus Domini, [Pg 480]which, to perpetuate the occurrence of that event in Turin in 1453, was erected in a sumptuous manner, and magnificently decorated.

"Sebastiano Taricco was born in Cherasco, a city of Piedmont, in the year 1645; and it clearly appears from his works that he studied with Guido and with Domenichino in the great school of the Caracci." Thus far his historian. I have endeavoured, but in vain, to find any record of the residence of these two great masters in Bologna in the year 1645, when Taricco was born; they were at that time both dead. I therefore conjecture that the writer meant to say, that Taricco studied in Bologna the works of the Caracci, as Guido and Domenichino had done before him. That he acquired the principles of his art in that city is believed in Piedmont; and his manner does not contradict this supposition. The truth is, that at that time all Italy, as it were, was turned to the imitation of the Bolognese; and Turin, as I have previously observed, had already a few specimens. Above all they possessed specimens of Guido, and of his followers, Carlo Nuvolone and Gio. Peruzzini; and all might influence the style of Sebastiano, which was select in the heads, and sufficiently pleasing in general, but of too great facility, and without that refinement which distinguishes the classic painters. This I say after seeing the picture of the Trinity, and others of his oil pictures at Turin: but I have heard that the Sala of the Sig. Gotti, painted by him in fresco in his [Pg 481]native place, and various other works by him interspersed through that vicinity, inspire a higher opinion of his talents. In the seventh volume of the Lettere Pittoriche there is mention made of a picture of S. Martino Maggiore at Bologna; where are represented the Saints Giovacchino and Anna, and where there is subscribed the initials tar, probably Taricco, as has been elsewhere conjectured. But the style of this picture is like that of Sabbatini, which is in fact a more ancient style than that which Taricco has exhibited in his authenticated works.

Alessandro Mari, of Turin, resided only for a short time in his native city, nor did he leave any public works there. He changed both his country and his school, and studied first under Piola, next under Liberi, and again under Pasinelli; always uniting the practice of painting with the cultivation of poetry. He ultimately became a celebrated copyist, and a successful designer of capricci and symbolical representations, by which he established a reputation in Milan, and afterwards in Spain, where he died.

We find the name of Isabella dal Pozzo inscribed at the foot of a picture at S. Francis, which represents the Virgin, together with S. Biagio and other saints. The birth-place of this fair artist is unknown to me; but I may observe that, in 1666, when she painted, there were not many better artists in Turin. Somewhat later flourished Gio. Antonio Mareni, a scholar of Baciccio, by [Pg 482]whom there is a beautiful picture noticed in the Guide. Towards the beginning of the eighteenth century were employed in those churches, and sometimes in competition with each other, Antonio Mari and Tarquinio Grassi, whether of the family of Niccolò Grassi of Venice, who painted at S. Carlo, I cannot say, but certainly the father of a Gio. Batista. Tarquinio is well known in Turin, and seems to have derived some portion of his style from Cignani and the Bolognese of that age.

Monferrato was not deficient in good artists in the seventeenth century. Some of these I have mentioned in the train of Lanini; others in that of Moncalvo. I shall here mention only Evangelista Martinotti, the scholar of Salvator Rosa, of great excellence in landscapes, small figures, and animals, as Orlandi informs us. I may add, that he succeeded also in nobler subjects; a Baptism of our Lord, in the Duomo of Casale, is shewn as his, and is a highly finished performance. There are two works there in public by a Raviglione di Casale, than whom, after Musso, I do not think that Monferrato has produced a more commendable artist: but we are nevertheless ignorant of his name, his age, and his school. Ferdinando Cairo was a respectable disciple of Franceschini in Bologna: he afterwards established himself at Brescia, where he continued, with Boni and others, to profess that easy style, and the latter city possesses his best works.



School of Beaumont, and Restoration of the Academy.

The eighteenth century was graced by the reign of three successive princes, all lovers of the fine arts, and was consequently rich in patronage; but from the decline of painting it was not equally rich in the production of great works. Saiter, who lived some years in this century, was succeeded at the court by Agnelli, a Roman, whose style was a mixture of those of Cortona and Maratta. He painted a large hall, which is filled with select pictures, and which now bears his name. Agnelli was in his turn succeeded by Claudio Beaumont of Turin, who after having studied in his native place, repaired to Rome, where he employed himself for a considerable time in copying the works of Raffaello, the Caracci, and Guido. He did not much regard the masters of the Roman School of that day, considering them feeble: he deferred to Trevisani, and aimed at emulating his execution and the vigour of his colouring: he was also desirous of studying the works of the old masters at Venice, but was prevented by his domestic circumstances. On his return to Turin, he became [Pg 484]distinguished for the noble style he had acquired in Rome. To appreciate him correctly we must inspect the works of his best time; as the Deposition from the Cross in the church of the S. Croce, or the pictures in fresco in the royal library, where, under various symbols, he has celebrated the ruling family; adding to it a Genius with a cross of a cavaliere, which was the reward he was ambitious of, and which he obtained. He decorated also other rooms with pictures in fresco; the Rape of Helen in one cabinet, and the Judgment of Paris in another, are his productions, alike happy in their general effect and in their separate parts.

The court gave an additional stimulus to his industry by employing, in competition with him, many eminent foreigners, particularly in the reign of King Charles, to embellish the palace, the villas, and the churches of royal foundation; among the latter of which the most remarkable is the church of the Sopperga, erected by Victor II., which contains the family monuments. Beaumont was in consequence brought into competition with Sebastiano Ricci, Giaquinto, Guidoboni, De Mura, Galeotti, and Gio. Batista Vanloo, the celebrated scholar of Luti. Vanloo in Turin distinguished himself both in the frescos of the villas, and in church pictures; and had with him Carlo, his brother and his scholar, who was his assistant, and executed even more works than he. He painted the beautiful decorations of a cabinet in the [Pg 485]Palazzo, consisting of subjects from the Jerusalem of Tasso. These princes were moreover accustomed to send commissions to the most distinguished foreign painters, such as Solimene, Trevisani, Masucci, and Pittoni; which gave a stimulus to Beaumont to rival them, or at least to endeavour not to be left too far behind. And thus in his best works he sustains his fame in a commendable manner; at one time excelling in design those who conquer him in colour; at another time surpassing in spirit of execution those who excel him in design. It is the general opinion that his genius declined as he advanced in years; and this is attributed to his superintendance of the working of tapestry, for which, while he made the cartoons, he gradually degenerated into negligence of design, vulgarity in his heads, and above all, crudeness and want of harmony in his colours; a defect not uncommon in those who survived him.

His memory is deservedly held in veneration in his native place. He was the first to form the Turin academy on the model of the greater institutions of that kind: so that it seemed to date a new birth from his time, in 1736 (for it was not before extended to all branches of the art) under the appellation of the Royal Academy; as appears from the Orazione of Tagliazucchi, and the poetry annexed, in a little volume edited in Turin in 1736, entitled,[TN16] Orazione e Poesie per la Instituzione dell'Accademia del disegno, in 8vo. Beaumont [Pg 486]educated not only many painters of merit, but also engravers, tapestry-workers, and modellers and statuaries; from which epoch the national cultivation of the fine arts has increased, far beyond the example of former times. Some of those who were the scholars of Beaumont in painting still survive. Some are deceased, (and these alone hold a place in this work,) of similar style, though not of equal talents with their master. Vittorio Blanseri was considered the best amongst them, and was on that account chosen by the court to succeed Beaumont. The three pictures by him at S. Pelagia, and particularly a S. Luigi fainting in the arms of an angel, are much esteemed in Turin; and if I err not, he is superior to his master in the distribution of light and shade. A more correct designer than Blanseri, but inferior in poetical invention, and in knowledge of harmony and colouring, was Gio. Molinari, who painted some pictures in the churches; one of which is at S. Bernardo di Vercelli, a composition of saints, well disposed, with good action, and conducted with great care. In Turin there is an Addolorata by him at the Regio Albergo delle Virtù; others in various places in the state; amongst which in the abbey of S. Benigno is a St. John the Baptist, with a landscape by Cignaroli. In private collections we meet with his historical pieces and his portraits: he painted one of the king, which was highly applauded, and has been very frequently copied. Owing to his character, which was naturally [Pg 487]timid, reserved, and modest, he painted history less than he ought to have done. This artist was honoured by the Baron Vernazza with an elegant eulogium, which will confer a lasting honour on his memory. He died nearly at the same time as another eminent Piedmontese of the name of Tesio. Whether or not Tesio was instructed in the art by Beaumont, or by others, I cannot state; but I know that he repaired to Rome, and there became one of the best scholars of Mengs; and at Moncalieri, a delightful residence of the royal family, are to be seen some of the finest specimens of his talents. Felice Cervetti and Mattia Franceschini worked sometimes alone, sometimes in competition, with more facility but less finish, and are pretty frequently met with in Turin. But in Turin, and throughout the state, Antonio Milocco is better known than these, or perhaps any other painter. He was not the scholar, but for some time the companion of the Cavalier Beaumont; more dry than he in design, less cultivated, and inferior to him in all the qualities of a painter: but from a peculiar facility he was often employed by private individuals, and sometimes by the court.

About the same period Giancarlo Aliberti flourished in Asti, his native city, which he adorned with many large compositions. The best of these are at S. Agostino, where, in the cupola of the church he has represented the titular saint borne to heaven by a band of angels; and in the presbytery, the same saint baptizing the newly converted [Pg 488]in the church of his town of Ippona. The subject is well conceived; the perspective, which the vaulting of the edifice rendered difficult, is correctly preserved; the architecture is magnificent; the expression of the figures is in unison with the august ceremony: the style participates of the Roman and Bolognese of those times. He would probably have left some works of a higher order in the cathedral, a fine church, which was intended to have been wholly decorated by him; but in consequence of demanding fifteen years for the completion of his work, he was deprived of the commission; nor was it difficult to find one to execute it quickly enough, without exciting the jealousy of Aliberti. P. della Valle found in his style a mixture of Maratta, of Gio. da S. Giovanni, and of Coreggio; heads and feet which one should attribute to Guido or Domenichino; forms peculiar to the Caracci; drapery of Paolo, colours of Guercino, a Sacrifice of Abraham, imitated from Mecherino. I had not myself time to form so many comparisons. The Abate Aliberti, his son, painted in many of the above-named cities, and, (which I have not found in the father,) in the capital. There is a Holy Family, of fine effect, painted by him in the church of the Carmine, though in the colouring it is not exempt from that greenish tinge which was then in vogue in Italy, and which still predominates in the works of some of our artists.

Francesco Antonio Cuniberti, of Savigliano, a fresco painter of some reputation in the decoration [Pg 489]of cupolas and ceilings, worked in his native place and its neighbourhood. Pietro Gualla di Casalmonferrato also employed himself in fresco, and likewise painted in oil in many places of the state, and in the metropolis. Although he applied himself late to the study of his art, he became a portrait painter of great spirit. Nor ought he to have gone beyond this province, neither possessing a knowledge of design, nor genius equal to greater attempts. When verging on age, he assumed the habit of a friar of S. Paul, and in Milan undertook to ornament a cupola of the church of that order; but he died before he had finished his work.

Another department of the art was cultivated in a distinguished manner by Domenico Olivieri of Turin, a man born to amuse by his singular personal appearance, his lively conversation, and the humorous productions of his pencil. His cabinet pictures of spirited caricatures in the style of Laer, and other eminent Flemish artists, are well known in the collections of Piedmont. In his time the royal collection, by the death of Prince Eugene, was enriched by the addition of nearly four hundred Flemish pictures; which are still distinguishable from others by the highly finished carving and fine taste of the frames. No one profited more than Olivieri from the imitation of these works. If he had possessed the lucid clearness of their tints, he would have passed for a Flemish artist. He is happy in his subject, strong in his colours, [Pg 490]and free in his touch. The court has two large pictures of his, crowded with figures of a span in size: one of which is a market scene, with charlatans, drawers of teeth, villagers quarrelling, and the variety of incident usually furnished by a busy assemblage of the vulgar. It might indeed, from its humour, be called a little Bernesque poem. He occasionally employed his talents in sacred subjects, as in the Miracle of the Sacrament, which he represented by a number of small figures in two pictures, which are preserved in the sacristy of the Corpus Domini. His style was inherited by one Graneri, who imitated him successfully, and died only a few years since.

The court had also a painter from Prague, of the name of Francesco Antonio Meyerle, commonly called Monsieur Meyer, who did not acquire so much fame from his larger works as from his small pictures in the Flemish style: in the latter he was indeed excellent. He was also a fine painter of portraits. The Bishop of Vercelli possesses one of an old man, scrutinizing some object or other with an eye-glass, executed with great truth and humour; and in the same city, where he spent his latter days, his works are frequently met with, and the more prized the smaller they are found in size. In landscapes and other ornamental pictures, painted in a bold Venetian style, and for distant effect, a Piedmontese, of the name of Paolo Foco, distinguished himself, who lived for a long time in Casale, where the greater number of his works [Pg 491]are to be found. He, too, attempted figures on a larger scale, but with little success.

In portraits, in the time of Orlandi, a lady of the name of Anna Metrana, whose mother also was a painter, was much esteemed. In our days a similar reputation was obtained in Bologna, by Marcantonio Riverditi, of Alessandria, a very good follower of that school. He painted also in the churches in a clear chaste style, far removed from mannerism; and amongst other pictures which he painted for the church of the monks of Camoldoli, is a Conception, in which he manifested his predilection for Guido Reni. He died in the same city in the year 1774.

I have found, in the course of my reading, one Michela, whether or not of Piedmont I cannot determine, who, in the royal castle painted perspectives, ornamented with figures by Olivieri; a work executed in competition with Lucatelli, Marco Ricci, and Gian Paolo Pannini, celebrated artists of those times. For the more extensive decorations of the churches and the theatres we find two artists often employed; Dellamano, of Modena, mentioned by us in the second chapter of the Lombard Schools,[77] and Gio. Batista Crosato, of Venice, whose genius and fine taste are extolled by Sig. Zanetti. He has not, however, been able to adduce more than one public picture, in which branch, and in every other of a figurist, he was less admired than in perspective. He is one of those [Pg 492]painters who deceive the eye by a strong relief, and he thus gives the semblance of reality to his imitations. He has left proofs of this quality in various parts of Piedmont, where he generally resided; and the works which do the most honour to his memory are at the Vigna della Regina. He conferred a benefit on the School of Piedmont, from his instruction of Bernardino Galliari, a celebrated perspective painter, particularly for the theatres, and of great fame in Milan, in Berlin, and in other places beyond the mountains. To this respected professor his scholars are indebted for their accurate taste in art. The state has also produced other painters in figures and in landscape; nor will any impartial person blame me for not having particularised every individual of them. On the contrary, I fear that several names here inserted by me, may appear to some of my readers scarcely worthy of admission. Such persons ought however to consider, that the mediocrity of the times compels the historian to notice artists of mediocrity.

The rules of the academy, introduced in Turin in 1778, have not subsisted sufficiently long to allow us to judge of their result, as I have done with regard to older establishments. They were given to the public the same year, from the royal press;[78] and do honour as well to the good taste as to the munificence of Victor Amadeus III. His [Pg 493]august father had, indeed, already prepared a domicile for the fine arts in the halls of the university, and had founded the new academy of design, under the direction of the first painter of the court. It has since received fresh lustre from the patronage of the present king, and has been enlarged by professorships, stipends, and laws, and aids of all kinds for studious youth. Turin has, in the present day, exhibited productions in painting, such as, except in Rome, are to be found in few capitals of Italy; and in architecture, statuary, and bronze, stands almost unrivalled. I do not particularise the living artists, as they may easily be found in the New City Guide, or in the preface to volume xi. of Vasari, printed in Siena; and some of their names have become better known from the voice of public applause than from the pens of writers.

I here close my History of the Art of Painting. The Indexes, which form the sixth volume, the first, containing the nomenclature and the different ages of the artists; the second, a list of the writers from whom I have derived my information; and the third, a reference to some things more particularly deserving of notice, will complete the work.

[75] Galleria del Marini, p. 288.

[76] The mediocrity of some who are extolled in Marini's work, which was published about the year 1610, appears from the silence observed towards them by contemporary writers, or the little applause with which they are named. I never elsewhere found mention, to the best of my recollection, of Lucilio Gentiloni, of Filatrava, nor of Giulio Donnabella, who there figure as eminent designers; nor of Annibale Mancini, whence I know not, a painter of histories; nor of the two equally renowned Frenchmen, M. Brandin and M. Flaminet, elsewhere transformed into Fulminetto; much less a Raffaele Rabbia, and a Giulio Maina, who painted the poet's portrait; unless, indeed, the second be the Bolognese Giulio Morina, mutilated in his name, like not a few other artists of this truly ill assorted Gallery. [This artist would rather appear to be the Giulio Mayno, of Asti, the court painter, mentioned in p. 467, ante. Ed.]

[77] See vol iv. p. 69.

[78] There is annexed to them a learned Treatise, by the Count Felice Durando di Villa, with very erudite and copious notes.


Transcriber's notes:

Standardized spacing after apostrophes in Italian names and phrases.

Standardized inconsistent hyphenation. For consistency with prior volumes in this series of books, 'bassi-rilievi' was changed to 'bassi-relievi' and 'master-piece' to 'masterpiece.'

Moved footnotes to the end of each chapter.

In the original, pages 63 and 64 were followed by *63 and 64*. The asterisked page numbers have been changed to 63A and 64A.

Retained archaic punctuation and spelling, except as noted below:
[TN1] - 'an' missing in the original
[TN2] - 'Comunal' to 'Communal'
[TN3] - 'reconducts' to 're-conducts'
[TN4] - 'emiment' to 'eminent'
[TN5] - 'Ceseno' to 'Cesena'
[TN6] - 'Tintoret' to 'Tintoretto'
[TN7] - 'chiariscuri' to 'chiaroscuri'
[TN8] - 'Ferrau' to 'Ferraù'
[TN9] - added 'of' to '... names not unworthy of a place in history ...'
[TN10] and [TN11] - 'desart' to 'desert' for consistency with remaining text
[TN12] - 'Barruffaldi' to 'Baruffaldi'
[TN13] - 'Mezzarata' to 'Mezzaratta'
[TN14] - 'Winckelman' to 'Winckelmann'
[TN15] - 'intitled' and [TN16] 'intituled' to 'entitled'