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PAINTING was in its perfection amongst the Greeks. The principal schools were at Sycion, afterwards at Rhodes, at Athens, and at Corinth, and at last in Rome. Wars and Luxury having overthrown the Roman Empire, it was totally extinguished, together with all the noble Arts, the studies of Humanity, and the other Sciences.
It began to appear again in the year 1450, amongst some Painters of Florence, of which Domenico Ghirlandaio was one, who was Master to Michael Angelo, and had some kind of reputation, though his manner was Gothick, and very dry.
Michael Angelo, his Disciple, flourish
ed in the times of Julius II. Leo X. and
There appears a certain air of greatness and severity in his figures, in both which he has oftentimes succeeded. But above the rest of his excellencies, was his wonderful skill in Architecture, wherein he has not only surpassed all the moderns, but even the ancients also
; the St. Peter's of Rome, the St John's of
Florence, the Capitol, the Palazzo Farnese, and his own house, are sufficient testimonies of it. His Disciples were, Marcello Venusti, Ịl Rosso, Georgio Vasari, Fra. Bastiano, (who commonly painted for him,) and many other Florentines.
Pietro Perugino designed with sufficient knowledge of Nature; but he is dry, and his manner little. His Disciple was Raffaelle Santio, who was born on GoodFriday, in the year 1483, and died on Good-Friday, in the year 1520; so that he lived only thirty-seven years compleat. He șurpassed all modern Painters, because he possessed more of the excellent parts of Painting than any other; and it is believed that he equalled the ancients, excepting'only that he designed not naked bodies with so much learning as Michael Angelo ; but his gusto of design is purer, and much better. He painted not with so good, so full, and so graceful a manner as Correggio; nor has he any thing of the contrast of light and shadow, or so strong and free a colouring as Titian but he had a better disposition in his pieces, without comparison, than either Titian,
Correggio, Michael Angelo, or all the rest of the succeeding Painters to our days. His choice of attitudes, of heads, of ornaments, the arrangement of his drapery, his manner of designing, his variety, his contrast, his expression, were beautiful in perfection ; but above all, he possessed the graces
in so advantageous a manner, that he has never since been equalled by any other. There are portraits (or single figures) of his, which are well executed. He was an admirable Architect. He was handsome, well made, civil and good natured, never refusing to teach another what he knew himself. He had many scholars : amongst others, Julio Romano, Polydore, Gaudenzio, Giovanni d'Udine, and Michael Coxis. His Graver was Mark Antonio, whose prints are admirable for the correctness of their outlines.
Julio Romano was the most excellent of all Raffaelle's Disciples : he had conceptions which were more extraordinary, more profound, and more elevated than even his Master himself; he was also a great Archi' tect; his gusto was pure and exquisite. He was a great imitator of the antients, giving a