« AnkstesnisTęsti »
at work on the painting of S. Giovanni, in the autumn of 1522, negotiations were entered into with the painter by the chapter of the Duomo of Parma for painting the choir, with its chapel, and the dome, in fresco. He was to receive 1000 ducats for the whole; and as the payment was made by instalments between the years 1526 and 1530, it is probable that the work was completed in that period, though the choir seems to have been thrown out of the contract. In the design of the dome the base of the vault is surrounded by a balustrade, on which sit little angels, and which represents the tomb of the Virgin; the dome represents the sky, with clouds through which the Madonna is carried up to the waiting company of saints surrounded by angels, the whole suffused in a golden light. The good people of Parma, whether clerics or laymen, were not pleased with the work; but one of the chroniclers reports that Titian saw the dome, and was much pleased with it, which may be true, as Titian is recorded as having been in Parma in 1530.
Of the easel-pictures of this period, the "Betrothal of St. Catherine," now in the Louvre, was painted about 1519. There is a small replica of it in Modena in a private collection. The "Madonna del Coniglio" at Naples is of this period, as are the "Madonna and Child with St. John" in the Prado at Madrid, together with a "Noli me Tangere"; also several pictures at Parma, in the gallery, and a "St. Sebastian," painted in 1515 for a gild of archers of Modena. The "Madonna Kneeling by the Child" of the Uffizi is probably of this time, as well as the "Christ at Gethsemane" of the National Gallery in London. The "Holy Night," now at Dresden, was commissioned in 1522 and put in its place in the church of S. Prospero in Reggio di Emilia in 1530, the price for it being recorded as 208 lire. It has been sought to identify the well-known "Magdalen Reading," at Dresden, with the painting described by Vittoria Gambara in a letter to Beatrice d'Este in 1528; but it does not correspond with the description, which is of a Magdalen kneeling in a cave, with hands raised in prayer, and has now been conclusively determined not to be by Correggio. Of the mythological subjects painted by the artist, the best preserved is the "Antiope" in the Louvre. The "Mercury Instructing Cupid," in the National Gallery in London, is one of the most important subjects of this class that we have, and the "Danaë" in the Borghese Gallery at Rome is the most masterly of Correggio's nude subjects. The "Ganymede" and the "Io" are at Vienna, and the "Leda" is at Berlin.
in his native town, nor does there seem to be any foundation for the ingenious stories of his dying from the over-exertion of carrying home a sack of copper coin with which certain monks were said to have paid him for his work. He left a son, Pomponio, who was also a painter, and one of his three daughters survived him, as did his parents. He died March 5, 1534, when scarcely forty years old.
No one of the great painters of the Renaissance has provoked greater extremes of appreciation than Correggio. A great painter he certainly was, with certain powers developed to the highest degree attained by Italian art, but with a seductive technical mastery which has been a false light to all students who have come after him. In his catalogue of the National Gallery, Sir F. W. Burton has given a most admirable summary of the qualities of Correggio's art, to which I am disposed to make only one dissent,-from the attribution to him of any power over the imagination,—when he says: "None before him had shown the capacity of painting to affect the imagination (irrespective of subject) by the broad massing of light and shadow, by subordinating color to breadth of effect and aërial perspective, and by suggesting the sublimity of space and light." In that intellectual side of art in which the imagination resides, Correggio seems to me singularly torpid and devoid of any gift akin to the inspiration which quickens imagination, if indeed it is not identical with it. The sensuous, the splendor of surface, the magic of execution, the mastery of color-harmonies and of composition of light and shade,-the great technical, but purely technical, qualities of painting,—are all that I can admit to Correggio; and the proof that he had little besides these lies in the fact that a translation of his work into any medium in which his technic is lost becomes almost too commonplace for study. Burton says of him:
The proportions of his figures are frequently faulty. The grace which fascinates us tends to degenerate into affectation, and movement into tumult.. . . In the management of the brush he has been excelled by few and surpassed by none, and his mode of execution and his colorHis flesh-tones are rich and warm, or cool and ing are as peculiar to him as his other qualities. opalescent, with infinitely subtle modulations and transitions. The harmonies he sought differ from those of the great Venetians. Full colors he used with powerful effect in his oil-pictures, but he was fond of quiet tertiaries. His general abstention from green, which plays so conspicuous a part in the Venetian system of color, is remarkable.
But he concludes with a sentiment which is Correggio spent his last years in retirement echoed by most earnest critics:
Taking this great genius by himself, it is difficult to overestimate his powers. But the influence he exercised upon later art was more
baneful than otherwise.
The quality of Correggio which to a painter is more than any other the sign of his immense power is in his touch, the richness and decision of his impasto, and the marvelous sweep of his brush. It is this evidence of power, the fascination of this supreme knowledge of his subject and facile success in rendering it, which give the spectator the impression of a greater force beyond, which did not exist. His conceptions are merely pictorial, but, as compared with anything before him, peculiarly pictorial; there was neither religious exaltation nor recognition of any religious ideal; there was
neither imagination in his conception nor depth in his sentiment; he ran the old and the new mythology through the same fusion into the same molds. While his splendid workmanship redeems many deficiencies, his successes and their cheapness, when measured by the larger scale of values, made him one of the greatest dangers to those who, coming after him, caught his vein of feeling and learned to content themselves with what lies on the surface. His influence can have been only "baneful" and never "otherwise"; for the example of shaking off conventional limitations in treatment of religious subjects had been given before, and in wiser measure. In Correggio independence in conception of religious themes becomes profanity. His was the end of religious painting.
NOTES BY TIMOTHY COLE.
HE" Madonna and Child in Glory," by Correggio, is an early work of that master. It hangs in the Uffizi Gallery, in the Sala della Scuola Italiani, next to the Tribuna. It is of small dimensions, not measuring more than 6% inches by 934 inches, so that my reproduction of it is but little smaller than the original. It is a brilliant and charming little gem, naïve and sweet in conception. The colors are rich and glowing. The background is of a bright, soft yellow, with delicate rays shooting through it from the brighter nimbus about the Madonna's head; the clouds about are of soft, warm gray tones, and the cherubs' heads melting into them are of warm flesh-tints. The angel with the lyre and the woeful expression to the right of the Madonna is clad in a yellow robe, soft and rich. Her hair is yellow, and the dark wing which is seen at the back is of a rich, deep crimson. The lyre is yellow like gold, and the flesh pearly and bright. Why has the artist given this angel so sad a countenance? It is perhaps a prophetic note of the suffering and sacrifice to come, though all is joy and glory now. The drapery of the Madonna is, for the most part, blue. The under por
W. J. Stillman.
tions, covering her breast and her sleeve, are of a soft, dull red. The blue robe that falls over her head and shoulders has a lining of green. It is turned up over the forehead, and falls over the shoulder. The drapery of the knees is of a fine, rich tone of blue. The fleshtints of the Madonna and Child are in cool, pearly, bright colors. The angel playing on the viola is clad in a grayish blue robe, purplish in the shadows. The hair of this angel is of a soft brown, and the viola is of a soft yellow color. The clouds in the foreground are of cool, bright tints. I have endeavored to give some of the force and brilliancy of the original by an admixture of fine and coarse cutting, for a coarse line gives a sparkle to the tint, while by a fine line we can get a dull, soft gray. Thus the foreground clouds owe much of their brilliancy to the contrast of the soft, fine gray cutting of the background, and the brightness of the flesh-tints is enhanced by their juxtaposition to finer work.
This work of Correggio is under the name of Titian, but the authorities are unanimous in ascribing it to Correggio.
BY EMILIO CASTELAR.
VI. THE HOMEWARD VOYAGE.
OLUMBUS determined to leave some thirty-nine men in Fort Nativity, in order that he might the better sail homeward with the rest. His friend Arana, a kinsman of Beatrice, was left in command of the improvised fort and its slender garrison. A royal chamberlain was appointed to succeed the commander in case of need, and a Segovian to replace the chamberlain. A surgeon, a carpenter, a ship-calker, an armorer, a tailor, and a gunner were also left to ply their callings if required. Columbus had brought with him so abundant a stock of provisions that he was able to leave wine, biscuits, and supplies for a whole year. To these he added arms for their defense, and seeds wherewith to cultivate the fruitful soil. Having thus furnished all the necessary stores, he supplied them also with wise counsel. First of all he enjoined submission to their commander, since without a head all would be vain, while obedience would foster good will and concord among them. He said that, if obedient and in close fellowship with one another, they would obtain the mastery over the Indian tribes and country, not by an unnecessary show of force, but by the natural ascendancy of their virtues and intelligence. Cordiality in their relations with the natives, respect for the latter's customs, with purity of life, would justify the Indian's good estimate of the Spanish character, while submission to temporary exile would find its reward in benefits to come, and in the glory of being the first to rule the new-found land. All this seemed plain sailing to Columbus because of the skill these men had shown in overcoming the difficulties of the well-nigh fabulous enterprise. The cacique deeply regretted the parting from his friend, as did the little band of Spaniards from their far-sighted leader. Tearful were the leave-takings, although the admiral fired joyful salutes to banish forebodings and instil new hopes.
On January 4, 1493, Columbus set sail, and on the 5th he hove to before a great rock that towered like a mighty cathedral, to which he gave the name of Monte Cristo. January 6, he met Martin Alonso Pinzon. The Indians had already reported having seen his bark in VOL. XLIV.-120.
the bays of Haïti; and although scarce believing the good news, Columbus had written him friendly letters as though nothing amiss had happened, being naturally apprehensive of a rupture which might turn to open animosity and defeat all his plans, especially as he himself was at the mercy of the commander of the Niña, the brother of his rival. These letters had never reached Martin Alonso's hands. So, when they met Columbus made no reproaches and accepted as sufficient the puerile excuse that stress of winds and waves had divided them, when he well knew that Pinzon had yielded to the tempting tales of abundant gold in those regions. The latter had indeed found much gold, two thirds of which he had divided among his sailors, keeping the rest for himself. Imbued with the conviction that he had been predestined from his cradle to this supernatural mission, Columbus attributed the conduct of his lieutenant to the wily scheming of Satan for his destruction. But, being a good mystic and a Franciscan of the third degree, he deemed it expedient for his ends to balk the infernal plot by the most exemplary patience, and so remained silent, being assured of the untruth of Pinzon's story, and resolved to punish him for it when he should get him safely back to Spain. This meeting with Martin Alonso hastened the return, Columbus being apprehensive lest some offered chance might add a graver wrong to Pinzon's desertion. The daily marvels of the voyage allured him in vain, siren-like fishes, turtles as big as bucklers, rivers with sands of gold, Eden-fields, sculptured promontories, placid harbors, and beauteous islands, hardy natives, abundant signs of gold like a ceaseless mirage enthralling his will with promises of wealth. In vain were stupendous tales told him of two islands hard by in those waters, one inhabited only by men, and the other by women, who visited but once in each year; in vain the conflict of five sailors, who went ashore at Monte Cristo, with the warlike natives, whose attempt to capture them led to the first shedding of Indian blood
Columbus was in haste to return to Spain without further delay, and on the 17th of January, 1493, the shores of his new-found world sank from his sight.
Good weather and a fresh breeze favored
this homeward course until the 11th of February. On that day they fancied themselves near some land, for many birds were seen. They knew not for certain where they were. Some said they must be off the Azores; others Madeira; others that they were nearing the mouth of the Tagus and the lovely rock of Cintra. But, unfortunately, they were on the edge of a fearful storm, that burst upon them on the next day, February 12. It was in truth a new and strange experience for them. Afloat since their departure from Palos, the discoverers of the New World had suffered no other mishap than the loss of their flag-ship on the Haïtian reefs owing to heedlessness and slumber, through over-confidence, on a glassy sea and in a gentle breeze; and even that had found compensation in the noble friendship of Guacanagarí, and in the opportunity to explore the richest gold-country they had yet seen. From the dawning of August 3, 1492, until daybreak of February 12, 1493, it seemed as though every beneficent influence had sped them on their way. The steadiness of the winds, which seemed to blow ever from the same quarter, was fancied by the explorers to be an obstacle to their return to Spain. How often had the admiral likened the face of ocean to the bosom of Guadalquivir, its fragrance to orange-blossoms, and its skies to those of Andalusia, lacking only the nightingale's song to complete the voluptuous joys of Seville. If, on their homeward course, spurred by the eager wish to tell the tale of their discoveries, they were thus smitten by a dreadful tempest, it could only be, according to Columbus, because of the continued machinations of Satan himself, warring against the discovery of these new lands and the conversion of their inhabitants to Christianity. The storm was the more appalling, inasmuch as the caravels were leaky and unballasted. Science then knew nothing of the world revealed by the microscope, and so those sailors could not know that tropical animalculæ were burrowing the timbers of their barks and weakening them day by day. Wormeaten and lacking ballast, the caravels sped like arrows amid the blasts and the seething billows. All poets vie in depicting the fury of the ocean tempest. Columbus very soberly describes the terrible tempests he himself had passed through, unlike Vergil, who pictured, with poetic heightenments, the storms he had never experienced. The historian of to-day, lacking personal knowledge of such a tempest as broke upon Columbus, may yet appreciate it by conning the pages of his journal. After much lightning and high winds on the three preceding nights, the gale increased on the night of the 14th. Suddenly there lowered upon those frail caravels a thick ashen and leaden
cloud; the waves raged beneath the hulls, meeting in awful shock, as though driven by contrary currents; upon the sails and rigging fell a deluge, as though the waters of the ocean were above them as beneath; beetling mountains seemed to rise from the eternal darkness that yawned below like the shades of hell, and jagged lightning-peaks glared above them as the storm-clouds changed their form; while whirlwinds as conflicting as the currents of the sea threatened to swallow them up. In vain they took in all canvas and lay under bare poles; death faced the terrified sailors. It being impossible for the Pinta to withstand the hurricane, she was soon driving before it. Lights were shown from the Niña all night, but at daybreak the Pinta was not in sight.
Columbus gave himself up for lost. His discovery seemed about to sink forever in the silent depths, leaving naught but the superstitions of old to bar the ocean-wastes from all such mad ventures as his, upon which heaven's wrath was thus visited. His sons, to whom he was bearing the hereditary rank of admiral and a domain such as mortal had never won, wrested by a miracle of genius from kings and pontiffs by the son of a humble woolcarder, were to be left orphaned and in want. The benevolent monarchs and the mighty magnates who had been his patrons would never welcome him, as in dreams he had so often pictured, with open arms and hail him as a conqueror. The acclaim of proud cities, the gratitude of kings, the gifts of fortune, unparalleled riches, power, and name for him and his, were all to be swallowed up in the abyss. Memories, too, came thronging of the dear companion whose love had enthralled him in Cordova, and brought him joy and forgetfulness amid the horrors of his darkest trials. Possess ing all a sailor's faith, Columbus implicitly trusted in the efficacy of vows, as suited also his intimate beliefs and cast of mind. To appease the divine wrath he offered a humble public penance and a pilgrimage-in his shirt, and upon his knees-from his ships to the sanctuary nearest the spot where he might land. The crew all asked to be admitted to share in the act of penance, even as they were sharers of the awful chastisement. Beans were shaken in a cap, one for each man on board, one of them being marked with a deep-cut cross, so that he who drew it should make a penitential pilgrimage to Guadalupe. Columbus drew the cross-marked bean. Lots were cast for a pilgrim to go to Loretto, and it fell to Pedro Villa, a sailor of Puerto Santa Maria. They next drew for one to go to Santa Clara of Moguer, and the lot again fell upon Columbus, who, being thus burdened by the caprice of chance with two penances, felt greatly con