Page images

Barberigo lent or gave the house at San Canciano to the painter Francesco da Ponte, the son of old Bassano. After inhabiting it for about ten years, Francesco threw himself from the window, in a fit of insanity, and was killed on the spot. This hap». pened on the 4th of July, 1592.

The next inhabitant was again a painter. Leo nardo Corona, one of the Venetian mannerists, who most successfully imitated Titian, rented the house from Barberigo, and lived there for ten years. I remember one good picture by this painter: an Annunciation over one of the altars in the Frari. There are others at Venice, but I cannot recall them. He died here in 1605.

Cristoforo Barberigo left the house of Titian, by will, to his natural son Andrea; but the pictures by Titian, which he had purchased from Pomponio, he left to his legal heirs, to descend as an inalienable heirloom in the family. This is the reason we find them still preserved in the Barberigo Palace. Andrea left the house to his daughter Chiara ; and her husband, one Marconi, residing at Rome, sold it, in 1674, to Pietro Berlendis, a patrician of Venice. At this period the house was let out in various tenements, but apparently to persons of condition. We find among the lodgers two sisters of the Faliero family.* All this time the heirs of the original proprietor, Alviso Polani, had certain claims on the estate; but these were finally paid off; and in 1759, the house and garden became, bonâ fide, the property of the Berlendis family.

* Calorin, document G. p. 121.

As the house decayed, it continued to be rented by various lodgers; and these became gradually of the poorer class—mechanics, tradesmen, gondoliers -- till we come to that Ser Francesco Breve, who tore down the Cupids from the ceiling, about 1805. In 1812, Pietro, Baron Berlendis, ruined by the political revolutions of his country, sold the house and its appendages, which had been in his family 150 years, to four brothers, named Locatelli; and these, again, in 1826, sold it to a certain Antonio Busetto, who is, I believe, the present proprietor. At what period the edifices were erected along the Fondamente Nuove, which now shut out the view of the Lagune from the house and garden, I do not find; they have not, by any means, the appearance of new buildings, and are very lofty.

This is the history of the house of Titian. It is going fast to ruin, and has long been desecrated by mean uses and vulgar inmates; yet as long as one stone stands upon another, it will remain one of the monuments of Venice. When I visited the place of his rest, at the foot of the altar of the crucifix in the “ Frari,” I found the site closed in with boards; and. was told that a magnificent tomb was at last to be erected over his hitherto almost nameless grave. What it is to be I know not ; something, perhaps, in the most egregious bad taste -a mere job-like that of Canova. But, whatever it may be, good or bad, it seems to me that it is now too late for any thing of the kind. On what monument could we look with more respect than on a tablet inscribed with his name ; leaving out, of course, the common-place doggerel about Zeuxis and Apelles ? * And what performance, in the way of “storied urn or animated bust,” will not suggest a comparison with his own excelling works ? What can do him more honor than the simple recognition of his excellence, living, as it does in the divine productions of his art, which are everywhere around us? How much better to have restored his house that home he so loved-and converted it into some national institution ? It as much deserves this distinction as the Palace of the Foscari; † the size and situation are even more favorable for such a purpose ; and this would have been a monument worthy of the generous heart of Titian. Arquà still boasts of the house of letrarch ;-Ferrara still shows, with pride, the little study of Ariosto;-Sorrento, the cradle of Tasso; -Urbino, the modest dwelling in which Raphael saw the light ;-Florence, the Casa Buonarotti. In Venice, the house of Titian is abandoned to the most heartless neglect; and the people now think as little of it as we do of the house in Crutched I'ri rs, where Milton wrote bis“ Paradise Lost.“ If ii were in a village, three hundred miles off, we should be making pilgrimages to it; but the din of a city deafens the imagination to all such voices from the dead.

* The inscription,

“Qui giace il gran Tiziano Vecelli

Eruulator dei Zeusi e degli Appelli, vas written by one of the monks of the convent.

+ Nhich is to be converted into a School of Engineers.



JANUARY 1, 1844. It has been suggested that I should throw to gether such notes and reminiscences as occur to me relative to Allston, his character, and his works. I commence the task, not without a feeling of reverential timidity, wishing that it had fallen into more competent hands ;—and yet gladly ;-strony in the feeling that it is a debt due to his memory; since, when living, he honored me so far as to desire I should be the expositor of some of his opinions, thoughts, and aims as an ariist. I knew him, and count among the memorable passages of iny life the few brief hours spent in communion with him :

“ Benedetto sia il giorno, e'l mese,

E l'anno. It is understood that his letters, papers, and other memorials of his life, have been left by will at the disposal of a gifted relative every way capable of fulfilling the task of biographer.* Meantime, these few personal recollections, these fragments of his own mind, which I am able to give, will be perused with the sympathy of indulgence by those who in the artist reverenced the man; and with interest, and perhaps with advantage, by those who knew the artist only in his works.

When in America, I was struck by the manner in which the imaginative talent of the people had thrown itself forth in painting; the country seemed to me to swarm with painters. In the Western States society was too new to admit of more than blind and abortive efforts in Art; genius itself was extinguished amid the mere material wants of existence; the green wood kindled, and was consumed in its own smoke, and gave forth no visible flame either to warm or to enlighten. In the Eastern States, the immense proportion of positively and outrageously bad painters, was, in a certain sense, a consolation and an encouragement; there was too much genius for mediocrity ; --they had started from a wrong point;-and in the union of self-conceit and ignorance with talent -and in the absence of all good models, or any guiding-light—they had certainly put forth perpe

Ilis brother-in-law, Mr. Dana, himself a poet, and whose son tyrote that admirable book, “ Two Years before the Mast.” Up to this time (May, 1846) the promised Memoir has not appeared.

« EelmineJätka »