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THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS.

DANIEL DI VOLTERRI.

This picture, painted in fresco, is still at Rome, in the church of the Trinity del Monte. The princess of the house of Ursini, who had a chapel there, commissioned Daniel di Volterri to ornament it with pictures. The manner in which he acquitted himself of this task placed him on a rank with the first masters. These pictures relate to the mystery of the cross, and present considerable beauties; but the painting under review is infinitely superior to the rest. It is pretended that Michael Angelo furnished Daniel di Volterri with the outline; but this anecdote is founded upon vague and uncertain reports, to which little credit should be attached.

This Descent from the Cross is esteemed one of the three finest altar pieces that were at Rome, when the city possessed the “ Transfiguration" of Raphael, and the “ Communion of St. Jerome" of Domenichino, which, seized by the hand of rapine, at present decorate the Napoleon Museum.

The drawing of this picture unites the dignity of the antique with the fierté of the Florentine school. It presents the most striking and pathetic expressions ; that of the Virgin overcome with affliction approaches even to the sublime.

It is, in a particular manner, through the beauties it offers in point of design and expression, that this picture is deserving of its great celebrity. The colouring is by no means seducing ; the carnations of the men are of a red brick colour; those of the women of an unnatural paleness. The draperies present tones in general harsh. Although time, which causes the colours in fresco to fade, may have taken from this picture a great portion of its vigour, we may reasonably presume it was never much esteemed for its colouring. In hazarding this remark it is far from our intention to depreciate one of the chef d'euvres of the art : on the contrary, the idea tends to prove that the productions of genius, notwithstanding some important defects, have a decided advantage over those works which present only a combination of inferior beauties.

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CUPID BENDING HIS BOW.

ANTIQUE STATUE.

Love, naked and on foot, is employed in bending his bow. The effort he makes compels him to extend his thighs, and to incline forward the principal part of his body. There exist several antique copies of this figure, the original of which, in the opinion of some antiquaries, is supposed to be the Cupid in bronze; which, according to Pausanias, was executed by Lysippus for the Thespians. Certain other writers have imagined they recognized in each of these copies the Cupid of Praxiteles, celebrated by Callistrastes. This latter sentiment has been cautiously received, it being generally known that the Cupids of Praxiteles are never represented in the attitude of casting the arrow.

This statue, in white marble of Paris, is about three feet ten inches in height. Its origin is not indicated in the notice of the gallery of antiques. The head, which is particularized, is certainly that of a Cupid, but the motion of that head, which does not appear to accord with the bust, has occasioned a suspicion that it did not originally belong to the statue. The right arm, the right thigh, and the legs, are the work of restoration.

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