صور الصفحة
PDF

IV

HIST. AND CRIT.

at

AND OF LEONARDO DA VINCI. perienced the infirmities of age, and where he died on the 2nd. of May 1819, after a residence of about three years. His remains were deposited in the church of St. Florentin at Am. boise.

It has been often repeated that Leonardo expired at Fontainebleau , in the arms of Frances Ist., and Menageot has represented a scene, alike honorable to the artist and the prince; but a part of the story is unquestionably false, as Leonardo died at Amboise; and the principal circumstance is, at least, doublful sor, as Venluri has observed, the Court was then at Saint-Germain, altending on the Queen, who had just been brought to bed ; and there exist ordinances signed by the King at Saint-Germain, on the ist, of May, wbich is hardly compatible with the supposition of his being on the 2nd. Amboise.

Leonardo's da Vinci's pictures are rare, and when undoubledly original are of inestimable price : the works of his pupil Luini are often attribuled to him.

This great man has a susceptibility of temper bordering upon jealousy: yet he is generally allowed lo bave possessed with pure morals, a noble and generous soul, and a humane and rational philosophy. His manners were graceful, and the inexhaustible stores of his mind furnished him materials for conversation, on every subject. In the early part of his life, while animated by the passions of youth, and dislingguished for personal beauty, he was remarkably attentive to his dress ; but in his latter years, and after his dissentions with · Michael Angelo, he became averse to the care of his person, and even suffered his hair and beard to

grow;

which gave him the appearance of an aged Druid,

ܪ

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Among the most distinguished Florentine painters, should be mentioned Andrea Vanucci, commonly called Del Sarto ; who was born at Florence in 1488, and surnamed Del Sarto, from his being the son of a tailor.

This great artist was first apprenticed to a goldsmith, but preferring the art of painting to that of chasing, he left his master, and engaged in the service of an obscure painter, named Giovanni Barile; whom he also abandoned, and entered the school of Pietro di Cosimo, a skilful colourist, but wanting in the talent of composition and design. — But potwithstanding these disadvantages, Del Sarto became profoundly versed in his profession ; and to form his taste, he copied with care the pictures of Leonardo da Vinci and Michel Angelo ; together with the frescoes of Masaccio and Ghirlandaio ; and afterwards perfected himself at Rome, by studying the sublime works of Raffaelle.

Del Sarlo's first undertaking Florence, was a History of St. John the Baptist , in twelve camaieu compositions in the cloister of the fraternity del Scalzo. These pieces were

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

1

:

executed at different periods, and, on attentive examination, shew the

progress of his talent, as well as his acquaintance with the works of Albert Durer, whose figures and drapery be has imitated.

He was at the same time engaged in painting, in the lower cloister of the Serviti dell' Annunciata, a series of pictures representing the life of St. John de Benizzi. These graceful compositions reflect his genius ; yet are eclipsed by an Epiphany and a Birth of the Virgin, which he executed for the fraternity. But the work from which be derived the greatest reputation, was the Holy Family, or rather the Abode in Egypt; which he painted over one of the gates of the grand cloister of this convent. This celebrated frescoe, which is commonly designated by the title of the Madonna del Sacco, and which is generally known by Raphael Morghen's beautiful engraving, is finished with all the care of a painting destined for the cabinet : is noticed in this work, no. 619. It has been pretended that the sack on which St. Joseph leans, was introduced by del Sarto, to commemorate his having received a sack of corn, in payment for his picture ; but if the truth of the anecdote be admitted, it may still be questioned whether his intention was to stigmatise a fraternily who were his benefactors.

Del Sarto's large compositions were soon disputed by connoisseurs, to adorn churches and palaces; and his easel pictures were carried , by dealers, to foreign countries, and especially to France. Francis I., an enlightened patron of the arts and sciences, having seen a Dead Christ of his, supported, by Angels in whose countenances grief was strikingly expressed, was desirous of employing him, and invited him to his court. On his arrival at Fontainebleau , he was first engaged to paint the portrait of the young Dauphin, and afterwards executed the magnificent picture of Charity, wbich we have seen no.

a

a

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

Before leaving Florence, del Sarto had married a young widow, named Lucrezia del Fede, to whom he had long been attached, but the graces of whose character by no means corresponded to the beauty of her person. The scantiness of his fortune obliged him to leave her and seek resources in France; where he hoped to be better rewarded for his labours than in Italy. But the separation becoming insupportable to him, he obtained permission to return in quest of his wife; and set out without waiting to finish a St. Jerome, which he was painting for the Duchess d'Angouləme, the King's mother.

At his departure he offered to improve the opportunity of this journey, to collect statues and pictures for the King; and considerable sums were entrusted to him for that object. But when once in Florence, he thought only of enjoying himself, and suffered bis wife to expend in pleasure the money desined for his purchases. He soon became conscious of his fault, and had recourse to the King's clemency; hut his efforts lo relrieve tbe royal favour were vain ; and thus vad. ished the hopes of a fortune which he had begun to enjoy by anticipation in France.

This misconduct was a source of lasting chagrin to del Sarto, and the remainder of his life was » bound in shallows ind distresses, «till the moment when he fell a victim to he contagious desease that wasted Florence in 1530. He died at the age of 42. abandoned by the woman who had been inceasingly the scourge of his existence.

Without equalling Raffaelle and Coreggio, del Sarlo holds in eminent rank both as a designer and a colourist; though je is sometimes reproached for the prevailing redness of iis tinis. His heads are characterised by powerful expresjion; yet too close a resemblance is remarked in those of his Madonnas, which arose from their being mostly the portraits of his wife. With such splendid talents for original pro

a

IV

that a

HIST. AND CRIT. NOT. OF ANDREA VANUCCI. duction, this great artist could submit to the constraint of copying; and so perfect were his imitations, copy

of Raffaelle's portrait of Leo X. , made by him for the Duke of Mantua, was taken by Giulio Romano for the original, at which he had himself worked under the eyes of his master.

Among Andrea del Sarto's pupils are remarked Giacomo Pontormo, Francesco Salviati, and Giorgio Vasari ; the last of whom is better known by his writings on the Italian Artists, than by his pictures.

« السابقةمتابعة »