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of the ceiling, conceived by Michelangelo as a series of frames for his paintings. Beautiful beyond description, too, is the exquisite marble screen. No one can say certainly who made it; it was perhaps designed by the architect of the chapel himself, Baccio Pontelli. There are a few such marvels of unknown hands in the world, and a sort of romance clings to them, with an element of mystery that stirs the imagination, in a dreamy way, far more than the gilded oaktree in the arms of Sixtus IV, by which the name of Rovere is symbolized. Sixtus commanded, and the chapel was built. But who knows where Baccio Pontelli lies? Or who shall find the grave where the hand that carved the lovely marble screen is laid at rest?

It is often dark in the Sistine Chapel. The tourist can rarely choose his day, and not often his hour, and, in his hard-driven appreciation, Michelangelo may lose his effect by the accident of a thunder-shower. Yet, of all sights in Rome, the Sistine Chapel most needs sunshine. If in any way possible, go there at noon on a bright winter's day, when the sun is streaming in through the high windows at the left of the «Last Judgment.» Every one has heard of the picture before seeing it, and almost every one has formed a picture of the picture in imagination. Consequently almost everybody is surprised or disappointed on seeing it for the first time. Then, too, the world's ideas about the terrific subject of the painting have changed since Michelangelo's day. Religious belief can no more be judged by his work than his work should be judged by the standard of religion. It is wiser to look at it as a work of art alone, as the most surprising masterpiece of a master draftsman, and as a marvelous piece of composition.

In the lower part of the picture, there is a woman rising from her grave in a shroud. It has been suggested that Michelangelo meant to represent by this figure the Renaissance in Italy, still struggling with darkness. The whole picture brings the times before us. There is the Christian heaven above, and the heathen Styx below. Charon ferries the souls across the dark stream; they are first judged by Minos, and Minos is a portrait of a cardinal who had ventured to criticize the rest of the picture before it was finished. There is in it all the whirling confusion of ideas which made that age alternately terrible and beautiful, devout and unbelieving, strong and weak by turns, scholarly upon a foundation of barbarism, and most realistic

when most religious. You may see the reflected confusion in the puzzled faces of most tourists who look at the «Last Judgment » for the first time. A young American girl smiles vaguely at it; an Englishman glares, expressionless, at it, through an eye-glass, with a sort of cold inquiry- «Oh! is that all?» he might say; a German begins in Paradise at the upper left-hand corner, and works his way through the details to hell below, at the right. But they are all inwardly disturbed or puzzled or profoundly interested, and when they go away it is the great picture which, willingly or unwillingly, they remember with the most clearness.

And as Michelangelo set his great mark upon the Sistine, so Raphael took the Stanze and the Loggie for himself—and some of the halls of the picture-galleries too. Raphael represented the feminine element in contrast with Michelangelo's rude masculinity. There hangs the great «Transfiguration,»> which, all but finished, was set up by the young painter's body when he lay in state-a picture too large for the sentiment it should express, while far too small for the composition, and yet, in its way, a masterpiece of composition. For in a measure Raphael succeeded in detaching the transfigured Christ from the crowded foreground, and in creating two distinct centers of interest. The frescos in the Stanze represent subjects of less artistic impossibility, and in painting them Raphael expended in beauty of design the genius which, in the «Transfiguration,» he squandered in attempting to overcome insuperable difficulties. Watch the faces of your fellowtourists now, and you will see that the puzzled expression is gone. They are less interested than they were before the «Last Judgment,» but they are infinitely better pleased.

Follow them on to the library. They will enter with a look of expectation, and presently you will see disappointment and weariness in their eyes. Libraries are for the learned, and there are but a handful of scholars in a million. Besides, the most interesting rooms, the Borgia apartments, are not shown.

Two or three bad men are responsible for almost all the evil that has been said and written against the characters of the popes in the middle ages. Farnese of Naples; Caraffa of Maddaloni, another Neapolitan who reigned as Paul IV; and Rodrigo Borgia, a Spaniard, who was Alexander VI, are the chief instances. There were, indeed, many popes who were not perfect, who were more or less ambitious, avaricious, warlike, timid,



VOL. LII.-74.

headstrong, weak, according to their several characters; but it can hardly be said that any of them were, like those I have mentioned, really bad men through and through, vicious, unscrupulous, and daringly criminal. Paul IV outlived most of his vices, and devoted his last years to ecclesiastical affairs, but Alexander died poisoned by an accident. According to Guicciardini, the Pope knew nothing of Cæsar Borgia's intention of poisoning their rich friend, the cardinal of Corneto, with whom they were both to sup in a villa on August 17, 1503. The Pope arrived at the place first, was thirsty, asked for a drink, and by mistake was given wine from a flask prepared and sent by Cæsar for the cardinal. Cæsar himself came in next, and drank likewise. The Pope died the next day, but Cæsar recovered, though badly poisoned, to find himself a ruined man and a fugitive. The cardinal did not touch the wine. This event ended an epoch and a reign of terror, and it pilloried the name of Borgia forever. Alexander expired in the third room of the Borgia apartments in the raving of a terrible delirium, during which the superstitious bystanders believed that he was conversing with Satan, to whom he had sold his soul for the papacy, and some were ready to swear that they actually saw seven devils in the room when he was dying. The fact that these witnesses were able to count the fiends speaks well for their coolness, at all events.

It has been much the fashion of late years to cry down the Vatican collection of statues, and to say that, with the exception of the «Torso,» it does not contain a single one of the few great masterpieces known to exist, such as the "Hermes of Olympia,» the «Venus of Medici,» the «Borghese Gladiator,» the «Dying Gaul.» We are told that the << Apollo >> of the Belvedere is a bad copy, and that the head of the original is in St. Petersburg; that the «Laocoon» is a copy, in spite of the signatures of three Greek artists, one on each of the figures; that the «Antinous» is a bad Hermes; and so on to the end of the collection, it being an easy matter to demolish the more insignificant statues after proving the worthlessness of the principal ones. Much of this criticism comes to us from Germany. But a German can criticize and yet admire, whereas an Anglo-Saxon usually despises what he criticizes at all. Isaac Disraeli says somewhere that certain opinions, like certain statues, require to be regarded from a proper distance. Probably none of the statues in the Vatican is placed as the sculptor would have placed it to be seen to advantage.

Michelangelo believed in the «Laocoon,» and he was at least as good a judge as most modern critics, and he roughed out the arm that was missing,-it lies on the floor in the corner,—and devoted much time to studying the group. It is true that he is said to have preferred the torso of the «Hercules,» but he did not withhold his admiration of the other good things. Of the «Apollo» it is argued that it is insufficiently modeled. Possibly it stood in a very high place and did not need much modeling, for the ancients never wasted work, nor bestowed it where it could not be seen. However that may be, it is a far better statue, excepting the bad restorations, than it is now generally admitted to be, though it is not so good as people used to believe that it was. Apparently there are two ways of looking at objects of art. The one way is to look for the faults; the other way is to look for the beauties. It is plain that it must be the discovery of the beauty which gives pleasure, while the criticism of the shortcomings can only flatter the individual's vanity. There cannot be much doubt but that Alcibiades got more enjoyment out of life than Diogenes.

The oldest decorated walls in the palace are those by Fra Angelico in the chapel of Nicholas. For some reason or other this chapel at one time ceased to be used, the door was walled up, and the very existence of the place was forgotten. In the last century Bottari, having read about it in Vasari, set to work to find it, and at last got into it through the window which looks upon the roof of the Sistine Chapel. The story, which is undoubtedly true, gives an idea of the vastness of the palace, and certainly suggests the possibility of more forgotten treasures of art shut up in forgotten rooms.

One other such at least there is. High up in the Borgia Tower, above the Stanze of Raphael, is a suite of rooms once inhabited by Cardinal Bibbiena, of the Chigi family, and used since then by more than one assistant secretary of state. There is a small chapel there, with a window looking upon an inner court, which was once the luxurious cardinal's bathroom, and was beautifully painted by Raphael in fresco, with mythological subjects. In 1835, according to Crowe and Cavalcaselle, Passavant saw it as it had originally been, with the frescos, though much damaged, still beautiful, and the marble bath still in its place in a niche painted with river-gods. In one of the Vatican's periodical fits of prudery, the frescos were completely hidden with a wooden wainscot, the bath-tub was taken away, and the room was turned into a chapel.

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