LIVES OF THE MOST EMINENT PAINTERS SCULPTORS & ARCHITECTS
|Bastiano Da San Gallo, called Aristotile||3|
|Benvenuto Garofalo and Girolamo da Carpi, and Other Lombards||23|
|Ridolfo, David, and Benedetto Ghirlandajo||59|
|Giovanni da Udine||73|
|Giovan Francesco Rustici||111|
|Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli||133|
|Index of Names||265|
|Alessandro Bonvicino (Moretto da Brescia)||S. Justina||Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 218||22|
|Gaudenzio Ferrari||Madonna and Child||Milan: Brera, 277||56|
|Ridolfo Ghirlandajo||Portrait of a Lady||Florence: Pitti, 224||64|
|Jacopo Tintoretto||Bacchus and Ariadne||Venice: Doges' Palace, Sala Anticollegio||96|
|Francesco Ubertini (Il Bacchiacca)||The Baptist in Jordan||Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich Museum, 267||18|
|Benvenuto Garofalo||The Madonna and Child with Saints||Ferrara: Pinacoteca, 1514||24|
|Benvenuto Garofalo||The Massacre of the Innocents||Ferrara: Pinacoteca, 1519||26|
|Benvenuto Garofalo||The Adoration of the Magi||Ferrara: Pinacoteca, 1537||30|
|Niccolò (Niccolò Dell'Abate)||Scene from the Æneid||Modena: Reale Galleria Estense||34|
|Il Modena (Antonio Begarelli)||The Madonna and Child with S. John||Modena: Museo Civico||38|
|Il Modena (Antonio Begarelli)||Four Saints||Modena: S. Pietro||40|
|Giulio Campo||The Purification of the Virgin||Cremona: S. Margherita||42|
|Sofonisba Anguisciuola||Portrait of the Artist||Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 109||44|
|Girolamo Romanino||The Madonna and Child with Saints||Brescia: S. Francesco||46|
|Alessandro Bonvicino (Moretto da Brescia)||The Coronation of the Virgin||Brescia: SS. Nazzaro e Celso||48|
|Gian Girolamo Bresciano (Savoldo)||The Adoration of the Shepherds||Brescia: Palazzo Martinengo||50|
|[Pg viii] Bramantino||The Holy Family||Milan: Brera, 279||50|
|Bramantino||A Warrior||Milan: Brera, 494||52|
|Cesare da Sesto||Salome||Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 91||54|
|Gaudenzio (Gaudenzio Ferrari)||S. Paul||Paris: Louvre, 1285||56|
|Ridolfo Ghirlandajo||Christ bearing the Cross||London: N. G., 1143||60|
|Ridolfo Ghirlandajo||The Miracle of S. Zanobi||Florence: Uffizi, 1275||62|
|Antonio del Ceraiolo||The Crucifixion with SS. Francis and Mary Magdalene||Florence: Accademia, 163||66|
|Ridolfo Ghirlandajo||The Madonna giving the Girdle to S. Thomas||Prato: Duomo||70|
|Giovanni da Udine||Arabesques di Raffaello||Rome: The Vatican, Loggia||78|
|Jacopo Tintoretto||The Pool of Bethesda||Venice: S. Rocco||98|
|Jacopo Tintoretto||The Last Judgment||Venice: S. Maria dell'Orto||102|
|Jacopo Tintoretto||The Miracle of S. Mark||Venice: Accademia||104|
|Jacopo Tintoretto||The Apotheosis of S. Rocco||Venice: Scuola di S. Rocco||106|
|Giovan Francesco Rustici||S. John Preaching||Florence: The Baptistry||114|
|Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli||S. Cosmas||Florence: S. Lorenzo, Medici Chapel||136|
|Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli||Tomb of Andrea Doria||Genoa: S. Matteo||144|
|Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli||Fountain of Neptune||Messina: Piazza del Duomo||146|
|Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli||High Altar||Bologna: S. Maria dei Servi||150|
|Francesco Salviati (Francesco de' Rossi)||Portrait of a Man||Florence: Uffizi, 1256||162|
|Francesco Salviati (Francesco de' Rossi)||Justice||Florence: Bargello||174|
|Francesco Salviati (Francesco de' Rossi)||The Deposition||Florence: S. Croce, the Refectory||180|
|Francesco dal Prato||Medal of Pope Clement VII.||London: British Museum||190|
|Giuseppe del Salviati (Giuseppe Porta)||The Reconciliation of Pope Alexander III and Frederick Barbarossa||Rome: The Vatican, Sala Regia||192|
|Daniello Ricciarelli||The Descent from the Cross||Rome: SS. Trinita dei Monti||200|
|Daniello Ricciarelli||The Massacre of the Innocents||Florence: Uffizi, 1107||208|
|Federigo Zucchero||Portrait of the Artist||Florence: Uffizi, 270||226|
When Pietro Perugino, by that time an old man, was painting the altar-piece of the high-altar of the Servites at Florence, a nephew of Giuliano and Antonio da San Gallo, called Bastiano, was placed with him to learn the art of painting. But the boy had not been long with Perugino, when he saw the manner of Michelagnolo in the cartoon for the Hall, of which we have already spoken so many times, in the house of the Medici, and was so struck with admiration, that he would not return any more to Pietro's workshop, considering that his manner, beside that of Buonarroti, was dry, petty, and by no means worthy to be imitated. And since, among those who used to go to paint that cartoon, which was for a time the school of all who wished to attend to painting, the most able of all was held to be Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, Bastiano chose him as his companion, in order to learn colouring from him, and so they became fast friends. But not ceasing therefore to give his attention to that cartoon and to work at those nudes, Bastiano copied all together in a little cartoon the whole composition of that mass of figures, which not one of all those who had worked at it had ever drawn as a whole. And since he applied himself to it with all the earnestness that was in him, it proved that he was afterwards able on any occasion to render an account of the attitudes, muscles, and movements of those figures, and of the reasons that had caused Buonarroti to depict certain difficult postures; in doing which he would speak slowly and sententiously, with great gravity, so that a company of able craftsmen gave him the name of Aristotile, which, moreover, sat upon him all the better because it appeared that according to an ancient portrait of that supreme philosopher and confidant of Nature, Bastiano much resembled him.
[Pg 4] But to return to the little cartoon drawn by Aristotile; he held it always so dear, that, after Buonarroti's original had perished, he would never let it go either at a price or on any other terms, or allow it to be copied; indeed, he would not show it, save only as a man shows precious things to his dearest friends, as a favour. Afterwards, in the year 1542, this drawing was copied in oils by Aristotile, at the persuasion of Giorgio Vasari, who was much his friend, in a picture in chiaroscuro, which was sent through Monsignor Giovio to King Francis of France, who held it very dear, and gave a handsome reward to San Gallo. This Vasari did in order that the memory of that work might be preserved, seeing that drawings perish very readily.
In his youth, then, Aristotile delighted, as the others of his house have done, in the matters of architecture, and he therefore gave his attention to measuring the ground-plans of buildings and with great diligence to the study of perspective; in doing which he was much assisted by a brother of his, called Giovan Francesco, who was employed as architect in the building of S. Pietro, under Giuliano Leno, the proveditor. Giovan Francesco, having drawn Aristotile to Rome, employed him to keep the accounts in a great business that he had of furnaces for lime and works in pozzolana and tufa, which brought him very large profits; and in this way Bastiano lived for a time, without doing anything but draw in the Chapel of Michelagnolo, and resort, by means of M. Giannozzo Pandolfini, Bishop of Troia, to the house of Raffaello da Urbino. After a time, Raffaello having made for that Bishop the design of a palace which he wished to erect in the Via di S. Gallo at Florence, the above-named Giovan Francesco was sent to put it into execution, which he did with all the diligence wherewith it is possible for such a work to be carried out. But in the year 1530, Giovan Francesco being dead, and the siege of Florence in progress, that work, as we shall relate, was left unfinished. Its completion was afterwards entrusted to his brother Aristotile, who, as will be told, had returned to Florence many and many a year before, after having amassed a large sum of money under the above-named Giuliano Leno, in the business that his brother had left him in Rome; with a part of which money Aristotile bought, at the [Pg 5] persuasion of Luigi Alamanni and Zanobi Buondelmonte, who were much his friends, a site for a house behind the Convent of the Servites, near Andrea del Sarto, where, with the intention of taking a wife and living at leisure, he afterwards built a very commodious little house.
After returning to Florence, then, Aristotile, being much inclined to perspective, to which he had given his attention under Bramante in Rome, appeared to delight in scarcely any other thing; but nevertheless, besides executing a portrait or two from the life, he painted in oils, on two large canvases, the Eating of the Fruit by Adam and Eve and their Expulsion from Paradise, which he did after copies that he had made from the works painted by Michelagnolo on the vaulting of the Chapel in Rome. These two canvases of Aristotile's, because of his having taken them bodily from that place, were little extolled; but, on the other hand, he was well praised for all that he did in Florence for the entry of Pope Leo, making, in company with Francesco Granacci, a triumphal arch opposite to the door of the Badia, with many scenes, which was very beautiful. In like manner, at the nuptials of Duke Lorenzo de' Medici, he was of great assistance in all the festive preparations, and particularly in some prospect-views for comedies, to Franciabigio and Ridolfo Ghirlandajo, who had charge of everything.
He afterwards executed many pictures of Our Lady in oils, partly from his own fancy, and partly copied from the works of others; and among them he painted one similar to that which Raffaello executed for S. Maria del Popolo in Rome, with the Madonna covering the Child with a veil, which now belongs to Filippo dell'Antella. And another is in the possession of the heirs of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici, together with the portrait of the above-named Lorenzo, which Aristotile copied from that which Raffaello had executed. Many other pictures he painted about the same time, which were sent to England. But, recognizing that he had no invention, and how much study and good grounding in design painting required, and that for lack of these qualities he would not be able to achieve any great excellence, Aristotile resolved that his profession should be architecture and perspective, executing scenery for comedies, to which he was much inclined, on every occasion that [Pg 6] might present itself to him. And so, the above-mentioned Bishop of Troia having once more set his hand to his palace in the Via di S. Gallo, the charge of this was given to Aristotile, who in time carried it with much credit to himself to the condition in which it is now to be seen.
Meanwhile Aristotile had formed a great friendship with Andrea del Sarto, his neighbour, from whom he learned to do many things to perfection, attending with much study to perspective; wherefore he was afterwards employed in many festivals that were held by certain companies of gentlemen who were living at Florence in those peaceful times. Thus, when the Mandragola, a most amusing comedy, was to be performed by the Company of the Cazzuola in the house of Bernardino di Giordano, on the Canto a Monteloro, Andrea del Sarto and Aristotile executed the scenery, which was very beautiful; and not long afterwards Aristotile executed the scenery for another comedy by the same author, in the house of the furnace-master Jacopo at the Porta S. Friano. From that kind of scenery and prospect-views, which much pleased the citizens in general, and in particular Signor Alessandro and Signor Ippolito de' Medici (who were in Florence at that time, under the care of Silvio Passerini, Cardinal of Cortona), Aristotile acquired so great a name, that it was ever afterwards his principal profession; indeed, so some will have it, his name of Aristotile was given him because he appeared in truth to be in perspective what Aristotle was in philosophy.
But, as it often happens that from the height of peace and tranquillity one falls into wars and discords, with the year 1527 all peace and gladness in Florence were changed into sorrow and distress, for by that time the Medici had been driven out, and then came the plague and the siege, and for many years life was anything but gay; wherefore no good could be done then by craftsmen, and Aristotile lived in those days always in his own house, attending to his studies and fantasies. Afterwards, however, when Duke Alessandro had assumed the government of Florence, and matters were beginning to clear up a little, the young men of the Company of the Children of the Purification, which is opposite to S. Marco, arranged to perform a tragi-comedy taken from the Book of Kings, of the tribulations that ensued from the violation of Tamar, [Pg 7] which had been composed by Giovan Maria Primerani. Thereupon the charge of the scenery and prospect-views was given to Aristotile, and he prepared the most beautiful scenery, considering the capacity of the place, that had ever been made. And since, besides the beauty of the setting, the tragi-comedy was beautiful in itself and well performed, and very pleasing to Duke Alessandro and his sister, who heard it, their Excellencies caused the author, who was in prison, to be liberated, on the condition that he should write another comedy, but after his own fancy. Which having been done by him, Aristotile made in the loggia of the garden of the Medici, on the Piazza di S. Marco, a very beautiful scene and prospect-view, full of colonnades, niches, tabernacles, statues, and many other fanciful things that had not been used up to that time in festive settings of that kind; which all gave infinite satisfaction, and greatly enriched that sort of painting. The subject of the piece was Joseph falsely accused of having sought to violate his mistress, and therefore imprisoned, and then liberated after his interpretation of the King's dream.
This scenery having also much pleased the Duke, he ordained, when the time came, that for his nuptials with Madama Margherita of Austria another comedy should be performed, with scenery by Aristotile, in the Company of Weavers, which is joined to the house of the Magnificent Ottaviano de' Medici, in the Via di S. Gallo. To which having set his hand with all the study, diligence, and labour of which he was capable, Aristotile executed all those preparations to perfection. Now Lorenzo di Pier Francesco de' Medici, having himself written the piece that was to be performed, had charge of the whole representation and the music; and, being such a man that he was always thinking in what way he might be able to kill the Duke, by whom he was so much favoured and beloved, he thought to find a way of bringing him to his end in the preparations for the play. And so, where the steps of the prospect-view and the floor of the stage ended, he caused the wing-walls on either side to be thrown down to the height of eighteen braccia, intending to build up in that space a room in the form of a purse-shaped recess, which was to be of considerable size, and a stage on a level with the stage proper, [Pg 8] which might serve for the choral music. Above this first stage he wished to make another for harpsichords, organs, and other suchlike instruments that cannot be moved or changed about with ease; and the space where he had pulled down the walls, in front, he wished to have covered with curtains painted with prospect-views and buildings. All which pleased Aristotile, because it enriched the proscenium, and left the stage free of musicians, but he was by no means pleased that the rafters upholding the roof, which had been left without the walls below to support them, should be arranged otherwise than with a great double arch, which should be very strong; whereas Lorenzo wished that it should be sustained by some props, and by nothing else that could in any way interfere with the music. Aristotile, knowing that this was a trap certain to fall headlong down on a multitude of people, would not on any account agree in the matter with Lorenzo, who in truth had no other intention but to kill the Duke in that catastrophe. Wherefore, perceiving that he could not drive his excellent reasons into Lorenzo's head, he had determined that he would withdraw from the whole affair, when Giorgio Vasari, who was the protégé of Ottaviano de' Medici, and was at that time, although a mere lad, working in the service of Duke Alessandro, hearing, while he was painting on that scenery, the disputes and differences of opinion that there were between Lorenzo and Aristotile, set himself dexterously between them, and, after hearing both the one and the other and perceiving the danger that Lorenzo's method involved, showed that without making any arch or interfering in any other way with the stage for the music, those rafters of the roof could be arranged easily enough. Two double beams of wood, he said, each of fifteen braccia, should be placed along the wall, and fastened firmly with clamps of iron beside the other rafters, and upon them the central rafter could be securely placed, for in that way it would lie as safely as upon an arch, neither more nor less. But Lorenzo, refusing to believe either Giorgio, who proposed the plan, or Aristotile, who approved it, did nothing but oppose them with his cavillings, which made his evil intention known to everyone. Whereupon Giorgio, having seen what a terrible disaster might result from this, and that it was nothing less than an attempt to kill three hundred [Pg 9] persons, said that come what might he would speak of it to the Duke, to the end that he might send to examine and render safe the whole fabric. Hearing this, and fearing to betray himself, Lorenzo, after many words, gave leave to Aristotile that he should follow the advice of Giorgio; and so it was done. This scenery, then, was the most beautiful not only of all that Aristotile had executed up to that time, but also of all that had ever been made by others, for he made in it many corner-pieces in relief, and also, in the opening of the stage, a representation of a most beautiful triumphal arch in imitation of marble, covered with scenes and statues, not to mention the streets receding into the distance, and many other things wrought with marvellous invention and incredible diligence and study.
After Duke Alessandro had been killed by the above-named Lorenzo, and Cosimo had been elected Duke; in 1536, there came to be married to him Signora Leonora di Toledo, a lady in truth most rare, and of such great and incomparable worth, that she may be likened without question, and perchance preferred, to the most celebrated and renowned woman in ancient history. And for the nuptials, which took place on the 27th of June in the year 1539, Aristotile made in the great court of the Medici Palace, where the fountain is, another scenic setting that represented Pisa, in which he surpassed himself, ever improving and achieving variety; wherefore it will never be possible to put together a more varied arrangement of doors and windows, or façades of palaces more fantastic and bizarre, or streets and distant views that recede more beautifully and comply more perfectly with the rules of perspective. And he depicted there, besides all this, the Leaning Tower of the Duomo, the Cupola, and the round Temple of S. Giovanni, with other features of that city. Of the flights of steps that he made in the work, and how everyone was deceived by them, I shall say nothing, lest I should appear to be saying the same that has been said at other times; save only this, that the flight of steps which appeared to rise from the ground to the stage was octagonal in the centre and quadrangular at the sides—an artifice extraordinary in its simplicity, which gave such grace to the prospect-view above, that it would not be possible to find anything better of that [Pg 10] kind. He then arranged with much ingenuity a lantern of wood in the manner of an arch, behind all the buildings, with a sun one braccio high, in the form of a ball of crystal filled with distilled water, behind which were two lighted torches, which rendered the sky of the scenery and prospect-view so luminous, that it had the appearance of the real and natural sun. This sun, which had around it an ornament of golden rays that covered the curtain, was drawn little by little by means of a small windlass that was there, in such a manner that at the beginning of the performance the sun appeared to be rising, and then, having climbed to the centre of the arch, it so descended that at the end of the piece it was setting and sinking below the horizon.
The author of the piece was Antonio Landi, a gentleman of Florence, and the interludes and music were in the hands of Giovan Battista Strozzi, a man of very beautiful genius, who was then very young. But since enough was written at that time about the other things that adorned the performance, such as the interludes and music, I shall do no more than mention who they were who executed certain pictures, and it must suffice for the present to know that all the other things were carried out by the above-named Giovan Battista Strozzi, Tribolo, and Aristotile. Below the scenery of the comedy, the walls at the sides were divided into six painted pictures, each eight braccia in height and five in breadth, and each having around it an ornamental border one braccio and two-thirds in width, which formed a frieze about it and was moulded on the side next the picture, containing four medallions in the form of a cross, with two Latin mottoes for each scene, and in the rest were suitable devices. Over all, right round, ran a frieze of blue baize, save where the scene was, above which was a canopy, likewise of baize, which covered the whole court. On that frieze of baize, above every painted story, were the arms of some of the most illustrious families with which the house of Medici had kinship.
Beginning with the eastern side, then, next to the stage, in the first picture, which was by the hand of Francesco Ubertini, called Il Bacchiacca, was the Return from Exile of the Magnificent Cosimo de' Medici; the device consisted of two Doves on a Golden Bough, and the arms in [Pg 11] the frieze were those of Duke Cosimo. In the second, which was by the same hand, was the Journey of the Magnificent Lorenzo to Naples; the device a Pelican, and the arms those of Duke Lorenzo—namely, Medici and Savoy. In the third picture, painted by Pier Francesco di Jacopo di Sandro, was Pope Leo X on his visit to Florence, being carried by his fellow-citizens under the baldachin; the device was an Upright Arm, and the arms those of Duke Giuliano—Medici and Savoy. In the fourth picture, by the same hand, was Biegrassa taken by Signor Giovanni, who was to be seen issuing victorious from that city; the device was Jove's Thunderbolt, and the arms in the frieze were those of Duke Alessandro—Austria and Medici. In the fifth, Pope Clement was crowning Charles V at Bologna; the device was a Serpent that was biting its own tail, and the arms were those of France and Medici. That picture was by the hand of Domenico Conti, the disciple of Andrea del Sarto, who proved that he had no great ability, being deprived of the assistance of certain young men whose services he had thought to use, since all, both good and bad, were employed; wherefore he was laughed at, who, much presuming, at other times with little discretion had laughed at others. In the sixth scene, the last on that side, by the hand of Bronzino, was the Dispute that took place at Naples, before the Emperor, between Duke Alessandro and the Florentine exiles, with the River Sebeto and many figures, and this was a most beautiful picture, and better than any of the others; the device was a Palm, and the arms those of Spain.
Opposite to the Return of Cosimo the Magnificent (that is, on the other side), was the happy day of the birth of Duke Cosimo; the device was a Phœnix, and the arms those of the city of Florence—namely, a Red Lily. Beside this was the Creation, or rather, Election of the same Cosimo to the dignity of Duke; the device was the Caduceus of Mercury, and in the frieze were the arms of the Castellan of the Fortress; and this scene, which was designed by Francesco Salviati, who had to depart in those days from Florence, was finished excellently well by Carlo Portelli of Loro. In the third were the three proud Campanian envoys, driven out of the Roman Senate for their presumptuous demand, as Titus Livius relates in the twentieth book of his history; and in that [Pg 12] place they represented three Cardinals who had come to Duke Cosimo, but in vain, with the intention of removing him from the government; the device was a Winged Horse, and the arms those of the Salviati and the Medici. In the fourth was the Taking of Monte Murlo; the device an Egyptian Horn-owl over the head of Pyrrhus, and the arms those of the houses of Sforza and Medici; in which scene, painted by Antonio di Donnino, a bold painter of things in motion, might be seen in the distance a skirmish of horsemen, which was so beautiful that this picture, by the hand of a person reputed to be feeble, proved to be much better than the works of some others who were able men only by report. In the fifth could be seen Duke Alessandro being invested by his Imperial Majesty with all the devices and insignia of a Duke; the device was a Magpie, with leaves of laurel in its beak, and in the frieze were the arms of the Medici and of Toledo; and that picture was by the hand of Battista Franco the Venetian. In the last of all those pictures were the Espousals of the same Duke Alessandro, which took place at Naples; the devices were two Crows, the ancient symbols of marriage, and in the frieze were the arms of Don Pedro di Toledo, Viceroy of Naples; and that picture, which was by the hand of Bronzino, was executed with such grace, that, like the first-named, it surpassed the scenes of all the others.
By the same Aristotile, likewise, there was executed over the loggia a frieze with other little scenes and arms, which was much extolled, and which pleased his Excellency, who rewarded him liberally for the whole work. Afterwards, almost every year, he executed scenery and prospect-views for the comedies that were performed at Carnival time; and he had in that manner of painting such assistance from nature and such practice, that he had determined that he would write of it and teach others; but this he abandoned, because the undertaking proved to be more difficult than he had expected, but particularly because afterwards commissions to execute prospect-views were given by new men in authority at the Palace to Bronzino and Francesco Salviati, as will be related in the proper place. Aristotile, therefore, perceiving that many years had passed during which he had not been employed, went off to Rome to [Pg 13] find Antonio da San Gallo, his cousin, who, immediately after his arrival, having received and welcomed him very warmly, set him to press on certain buildings, with a salary of ten crowns a month, and then sent him to Castro, where he stayed some months, being commissioned by Pope Paul III to execute a great part of the buildings there after the designs and directions of Antonio. But, because Aristotile, having been brought up with Antonio from childhood, had become accustomed to treat him too familiarly, it is said that Antonio kept him at a distance, since Aristotile had never been able to accustom himself to calling him "you," insomuch that he gave him the "thou" even if they were before the Pope, to say nothing of a circle of nobles and gentlemen, even as is still done by Florentines used to the ancient fashions and to giving the "thou" to everyone, as if they were from Norcia, without being able to accommodate themselves to modern ways of life as others do, who march step by step with the times. And how strange this circumstance appeared to Antonio, accustomed as he was to be honoured by Cardinals and other great men, everyone may imagine for himself. Having therefore grown weary of his stay at Castro, Aristotile besought Antonio that he should enable him to return to Rome; in which Antonio obliged him very readily, but said to him that he must behave towards him in a different manner and with better breeding, particularly whenever they were in the presence of great persons.
One year, at the time of the Carnival, when Ruberto Strozzi was giving a banquet at Rome to certain lords, his friends, and a comedy was to be performed at his house, Aristotile made for him in the great hall a prospect-scene, which, considering the little space at his disposal, was so pleasing, so graceful, and so beautiful, that Cardinal Farnese, among others, not only was struck with astonishment at it, but caused him to make one in his Palace of S. Giorgio, where is the Cancelleria, in one of those mezzanine halls that look out on the garden; but in such a way that it might remain there permanently, so that he might be able to make use of it whenever he so wished or required. This work, then, was carried out by Aristotile with all the study in his power and knowledge, and in such a manner, that it gave the Cardinal and the men [Pg 14] of the arts infinite satisfaction. Now the Cardinal commissioned Messer Curzio Frangipane to remunerate Aristotile; and he, as a man of prudence, wishing to do what was right by him, but also not to overpay him, asked Perino del Vaga and Giorgio Vasari to value the work. This was very agreeable to Perino, because, feeling hatred for Aristotile, and taking it ill that he had executed that prospect-scene, which he thought should have fallen to him as the servant of the Cardinal, he was living in apprehension and jealousy, and all the more because the Cardinal had made use in those days not only of Aristotile but also of Vasari, and had given him a thousand crowns for having painted in fresco, in a hundred days, the Hall of "Parco Majori" in the Cancelleria. For these reasons, therefore, Perino intended to value that prospect-view of Aristotile's at so little, that he would have to repent of having done it. But Aristotile, having heard who were the men who had to value his prospect-view, went to seek out Perino, and at the first word, according to his custom, began to give him the "thou" to his face, for he had been his friend in youth; whereupon Perino, who had already an ill-will against him, flew into a rage and all but revealed, without noticing, the malicious thing that he had it in his mind to do. Aristotile having therefore told the whole story to Vasari, Giorgio told him that he should have no anxiety and should be of good cheer, for no wrong would be done to him.
Afterwards, Perino and Giorgio coming together to settle that affair, Perino, as the older man, began to speak, and set himself to censure that prospect-scene and to say that it was a work of a few halfpence, and that Aristotile, having received money on account and having been paid for those who had assisted him, had been overpaid, adding: "If I had been commissioned to do it, I would have done it in another manner, and with different scenes and ornaments from those used by that fellow; but the Cardinal always chooses to favour some person who does him little honour." From these words and others Giorgio recognized that Perino wished rather to avenge himself on Aristotile for the grievance that he had against the Cardinal than to ensure with friendly affection the remuneration of the talents and labours of a good craftsman; and he spoke these soft words to Perino: "Although I have not as much knowledge [Pg 15] of such works as I might have, nevertheless, having seen some by the hands of those who know how to do them, it appears to me that this one is very well executed, and worthy to be valued at many crowns, and not, as you say, at a few halfpence. And it does not seem to me right that he who sits in his work-room drawing cartoons, in order afterwards to reproduce in great works such a variety of things in perspective, should be paid for the labour of his nights—and perhaps for the work of many weeks into the bargain—on the same scale as are paid the days of those who have to undergo no fatigue of the mind and hand, and little of the body, it being enough for them to imitate, without in any way racking their brains, as Aristotile has done. And if you, Perino, had executed it, as you say, with more scenes and ornaments, perhaps you might not have done it with that grace which has been achieved by Aristotile, who in that kind of painting has been esteemed with much judgment by the Cardinal to be a better master than you. Remember that in the end, by giving a wrong and unjust estimate, you do harm not so much to Aristotile as to art and excellence in general, and even more to your own soul, if you depart from what is right for the sake of some private grievance; not to mention that all who recognize the work as a good one, will censure not it but our weak judgment, and may even put it down to envy and malice in our natures. And whoever seeks to ingratiate himself with another, to glorify his own works, or to avenge himself for any injury by censuring or estimating at less than their true value the good works of others, is finally recognized by God and man as what he is, namely, as malignant, ignorant, and wicked. Consider, you who do all the work in Rome, how it would appear to you if others were to value your labours as you do theirs? Put yourself, I beg you, in the shoes of this poor old man, and you will see how far you are from reason and justice."
Of such force were these and other words that Giorgio spoke lovingly to Perino, that they arrived at a just estimate, and satisfaction was given to Aristotile, who, with that money, with the payment for the picture sent, as was related at the beginning, to France, and with the savings from his salaries, returned joyously to Florence, notwithstanding that [Pg 16] Michelagnolo, who was his friend, had intended to make use of him in the building that the Romans were proposing to erect on the Campidoglio. Having thus returned to Florence in the year 1547, Aristotile went to kiss the hands of the Lord Duke Cosimo, and besought his Excellency, since he had set his hand to many buildings, that he should assist him and make use of his services. And that lord, having received him graciously, as he has always received men of excellence, ordained that an allowance of ten crowns a month should be given to him, and said to him that he would be employed according as occasion might arise. With that allowance Aristotile lived peacefully for some years, without doing anything more, and then died at the age of seventy, on the last day of May in the year 1551, and was buried in the Church of the Servites. In our book are some drawings by the hand of Aristotile, and there are some in the possession of Antonio Particini; among which are some very beautiful sheets drawn in perspective.
There lived in the same times as Aristotile, and were his friends, two painters of whom I shall make brief mention here, because they were such that they deserve to have a place among these rare intellects, on account of some works executed by them that were truly worthy to be extolled. One was Jacone, and the other Francesco Ubertini, called Il Bacchiacca. Jacone, then, did not execute many works, being one who lost himself in talking and jesting, and contented himself with the little that his fortune and his idleness allowed him, which was much less than what he required. But, since he was closely associated with Andrea del Sarto, he drew very well and with great boldness; and he was very fantastic and bizarre in the posing of his figures, distorting them and seeking to make them varied and different from those of others in all his compositions. In truth, he had no little design, and when he chose he could imitate the good. In Florence, when still young, he executed many pictures of Our Lady, many of which were sent by Florentine merchants into France. For S. Lucia, in the Via de' Bardi, he painted in an altar-piece God the Father, Christ, and Our Lady, with other figures, and at Montici, about a tabernacle on the corner of the house of Lodovico Capponi, he executed two figures in chiaroscuro. For S. Romeo, in an altar-piece, he painted Our Lady and two Saints.
[Pg 17] Then, hearing once much praise spoken of the façades executed by Polidoro and Maturino at Rome, without anyone knowing about it he went off to that city, where he stayed some months and made some copies, gaining such proficience in matters of art, that he afterwards proved himself in many works a passing good painter. Wherefore the Chevalier Buondelmonte commissioned him to paint in chiaroscuro a house that he had built opposite to S. Trinita, at the beginning of the Borgo S. Apostolo; wherein Jacone painted stories from the life of Alexander the Great, very beautiful in certain parts, and executed with so much grace and design, that many believe that the designs for the whole work were made for him by Andrea del Sarto. To tell the truth, from the proof of his powers that Jacone gave in that work, it was thought that he was likely to produce some great fruits. But, since he always had his mind set more on giving himself a good time and every possible amusement, living in a round of suppers and feastings with his friends, than on studying and working, he was for ever forgetting rather than learning. And that which was a thing to laugh at or to pity, I know not which, was that he belonged to a company, or rather, gang, of friends who, under the pretence of living like philosophers, lived like swine and brute-beasts; they never washed their hands, or face, or head, or beard; they did not sweep their houses, and never made their beds save only once every two months; they laid their tables with the cartoons for their pictures, and they drank only from the flask or the jug; and this miserable existence of theirs, living, as the saying goes, from hand to mouth, was held by them to be the finest life in the world. But, since the outer man is wont to be a guide to the inner, and to reveal what our minds are, I believe, as has been said before, that they were as filthy and brutish in mind as their outward appearance suggested.
For the festival of S. Felice in Piazza—that is, the representation of the Annunciation of the Madonna, of which there has been an account in another place—which was held by the Company of the Orciuolo in the year 1525, Jacone made among the outer decorations, according to the custom of those times, a most beautiful triumphal arch standing by itself, large, double, and very high, with eight columns, pilasters, and [Pg 18] pediments; all of which he caused to be carried to completion by Piero da Sesto, a well-practised master in woodwork. On this arch, then, were painted nine scenes, part of which, the best, he executed himself, and the rest Francesco Ubertini, Il Bacchiacca; and these scenes were all from the Old Testament, and for the greater part from the life of Moses. Having then been summoned by a Scopetine friar, his kinsman, to Cortona, Jacone painted two altar-pieces in oils for the Church of the Madonna, which is without the city. In one of these is Our Lady with S. Rocco, S. Augustine, and other Saints, and in the other a God the Father who is crowning Our Lady, with two Saints at the foot, and in the centre is S. Francis, who is receiving the Stigmata; which two works were very beautiful. Then, having returned to Florence, he decorated for Bongianni Capponi a vaulted chamber in that city; and he executed certain others for the same man in his villa at Montici. And finally, when Jacopo da Pontormo painted for Duke Alessandro, in his villa at Careggi, that loggia of which there has been an account in his Life, Jacone helped to execute the greater part of the ornaments, such as grotesques, and other things. After this he occupied himself with certain insignificant works, of which there is no need to make mention.
THE BAPTISM IN JORDAN
(After the painting by Bacchiacca. Berlin: Kaiser Friedrich Museum, No. 267)
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The sum of the matter is that Jacone spent the best part of his life in jesting, in going off into cogitations, and in speaking evil of all and sundry. For in those days the art of design in Florence had fallen into the hands of a company of persons who paid more attention to playing jokes and to enjoyment than to working, and whose occupation was to assemble in shops and other places, and there to spend their time in criticizing maliciously, in their own jargon, the works of others who were persons of excellence and lived decently and like men of honour. The heads of this company were Jacone, the goldsmith Piloto, and the wood-carver Tasso; but the worst of them all was Jacone, for the reason that, among his other fine qualities, his every word was always a foul slander against somebody. Wherefore it was no marvel that from such a company there should have sprung in time, as will be related, many evil happenings, or that Piloto, on account of his slanderous tongue, was killed by a young man. And since their habits and proceedings were [Pg 19] displeasing to honest men, they were generally to be found—I do not say all of them, but some at least—like wool-carders and other fellows of that kidney, playing at chuck-stones at the foot of a wall, or making merry in a tavern.
One day that Giorgio Vasari was returning from Monte Oliveto, a place without Florence, after a visit to the reverend and most cultured Don Miniato Pitti, who was then Abbot of that monastery, he found Jacone, with a great part of his crew, at the Canto de' Medici; and Jacone thought to attempt, as I heard afterwards, with some of his idle talk, speaking half in jest and half in earnest, to hit on some phrase insulting to Giorgio. And so, when Vasari rode into their midst on his horse, Jacone said to him: "Well, Giorgio, how goes it with you?" "Finely, my Jacone," answered Giorgio. "Once I was poor like all of you, and now I find myself with three thousand crowns or more. You thought me a fool, and the priests and friars think me an able master. I used to be your servant, and here is a servant of my own, who serves me and looks after my horse. I used to dress in the clothes that beggarly painters wear, and here am I dressed in velvet. Once I went on foot, and now I go on horseback. So you see, my Jacone, it goes exceeding well with me. May God be with you."
When poor Jacone had heard all this recital in one breath, he lost all his presence of mind and stood confused, without saying another word, as if reflecting how miserable he was, and how often the engineer is hoist with his own petard. Finally, having become much reduced by an infirmity, and being poor, neglected, and paralysed in the legs, so that he could do nothing to better himself, Jacone died in misery in a little hovel that he had on a mean street, or rather, alley, called Codarimessa, in the year 1553.
Francesco Ubertini, called Il Bacchiacca, was a diligent painter, and, although he was the friend of Jacone, he always lived decently enough and like an honest man. He was likewise a friend of Andrea del Sarto, and much assisted and favoured by him in matters of art. Francesco, I say, was a diligent painter, and particularly in painting little figures, which he executed to perfection, with much patience, as [Pg 20] may be seen from a predella with the story of the Martyrs, below the altar-piece of Giovanni Antonio Sogliani, in S. Lorenzo at Florence, and from another predella, executed very well, in the Chapel of the Crocifisso. For the chamber of Pier Francesco Borgherini, of which mention has already been made so many times, Il Bacchiacca, in company with the others, executed many little figures on the coffers and the panelling, which are known by the manner, being different from the others. For the antechamber of Giovan Maria Benintendi, which likewise has been already mentioned, he painted two very beautiful pictures with little figures, in one of which, the most beautiful and the most abundant in figures, is the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ in the Jordan. He also executed many others for various persons, which were sent to France and England. Finally, having entered the service of Duke Cosimo, since he was an excellent painter in counterfeiting all the kinds of animals, Il Bacchiacca painted for his Excellency a cabinet all full of birds of various kinds, and rare plants, all of which he executed divinely well in oils. He then made, with a vast number of little figures, cartoons of all the months of the year, which were woven into most beautiful tapestries in silk and gold, with such industry and diligence that there is nothing better of that kind to be seen, by Marco, the son of Maestro Giovanni Rosto the Fleming. After these works, Il Bacchiacca decorated in fresco the grotto of a water-fountain that is at the Pitti Palace. Lastly, he made the designs for a bed that was executed in embroidery, all full of scenes and little figures. This is the most ornate work in the form of a bed, in such a kind of workmanship, that there is to be seen, the embroidering having been made rich with pearls and other things of price by Antonio Bacchiacca, the brother of Francesco, who is an excellent embroiderer; and, since Francesco died before the completion of the bed, which has served for the happy nuptials of the most illustrious Lord Prince of Florence, Don Francesco de' Medici, and of her serene Highness Queen Joanna of Austria, it was finished in the end after the directions and designs of Giorgio Vasari.
Francesco died at Florence in the year 1557.
MORETTO DA BRESCIA: S. JUSTINA
(Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 218. Panel)
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In this part of the Lives that we are about to write we shall give a brief account of the best and most eminent painters, sculptors, and architects who have lived in Lombardy in our time, after Mantegna, Costa, Boccaccino of Cremona, and Francia of Bologna; for I am not able to write the life of each in detail, and it seems to me enough to enumerate their works. And even this I would not have set myself to do, nor to give a judgment on those works, if I had not first seen them; but since, from the year 1542 down to this present year of 1566, I had not travelled, as I did before, over almost the whole of Italy, nor seen the above-mentioned works and the others that had appeared in great numbers during that period of four-and-twenty years, I resolved, before writing of them, being almost at the end of this my labour, to see them and judge of them with my own eyes. Wherefore, after the conclusion of the above-mentioned nuptials of the most illustrious Lord Don Francesco de' Medici, Prince of Florence and Siena, my master, and of her serene Highness Queen Joanna of Austria, on account of which I had been much occupied for two years on the ceiling of the principal hall of their Palace, I resolved, without sparing any expense or fatigue, to revisit Rome, Tuscany, part of the March, Umbria, Romagna, Lombardy, and Venice with all her domain, in order to re-examine the old works and to see the many that have been executed from the year 1542 onward. And so, having made a record of the works that were most notable and most worthy to be put down in writing, in order not to do wrong to the talents of many craftsmen or depart from that sincere truthfulness which is expected from those who [Pg 24] write history of any kind, I shall proceed without bias of mind to write down all that is wanting in any part of what has been already written, without disturbing the order of the story, and then to give an account of the works of some who are still living, and have worked or are still working excellently well; for it appears to me that so much is demanded by the merits of many rare and noble craftsmen.
Let me begin, then, with the men of Ferrara. Benvenuto Garofalo was born at Ferrara in the year 1481, to Piero Tisi, whose elders had their origin in Padua. He was born, I say, so inclined to painting, that, when still but a little boy, while going to school to learn reading, he would do nothing but draw; from which exercise his father, who looked on painting as a folly, sought to divert him, but was never able. Wherefore that father, having seen that he must second the inclination of that son of his, who would never do anything day and night but draw, finally placed him with Domenico Panetti, a painter of some repute at that time, although his manner was dry and laboured, in Ferrara. With that Domenico Benvenuto had been some little time, when, going once to Cremona, he happened to see in the principal chapel of the Duomo in that city, among other works by the hand of Boccaccio Boccaccino, a painter of Cremona, who had painted the tribune there in fresco, a Christ seated on a throne surrounded by four Saints, and giving the Benediction. Whereupon, that work having pleased him, he placed himself by means of some friends under Boccaccino, who was at that time executing in the same church, likewise in fresco, some stories of the Madonna, as has been said in his Life, in competition with the painter Altobello, who was painting in the same church, opposite to Boccaccino, some stories of Jesus Christ, which are very beautiful and truly worthy to be praised.
THE MADONNA AND CHILD WITH SAINTS
(After the painting by Benvenuto Garofalo. Ferrara: Pinacoteca, 1514)
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Now, after Benvenuto had been two years in Cremona, and had made much progress under the discipline of Boccaccino, he went off in the year 1500, at the age of nineteen, to Rome, where, having placed himself with Giovanni Baldini, a Florentine painter of passing good skill, who possessed many very beautiful drawings by various excellent masters, he was constantly practising his hand on those drawings whenever he had [Pg 25] time, and particularly at night. Then, after he had been fifteen months with that master and had seen to his great delight the works of Rome, he travelled for a time over various parts of Italy, and finally made his way to Mantua. There he stayed two years with the painter Lorenzo Costa, serving him with such lovingness, that Lorenzo, after that period of two years, in order to reward him, placed him in the service of Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, for whom Costa himself was working. But Benvenuto had not been long with the Marquis, when, his father Piero falling ill in Ferrara, he was forced to return to that city, where he stayed afterwards for four years together, executing many works by himself alone, and some in company with the Dossi.
Then, in the year 1505, being sent for by Messer Geronimo Sagrato, a gentleman of Ferrara, who was living in Rome, Benvenuto returned there with the greatest willingness, and particularly from a desire to see the miracles that were being related of Raffaello da Urbino and of the Chapel of Julius painted by Buonarroti. But when Benvenuto had arrived in Rome, he was struck with amazement, and almost with despair, by seeing the grace and vivacity that the pictures of Raffaello revealed, and the depth in the design of Michelagnolo. Wherefore he cursed the manners of Lombardy, and that which he had learned with so much study and effort at Mantua, and right willingly, if he had been able, would he have purged himself of all that knowledge; but he resolved, since there was no help for it, that he would unlearn it all, and, after the loss of so many years, change from a master into a disciple. And so he began to draw from such works as were the best and the most difficult, and to study with all possible diligence those greatly celebrated manners, and gave his attention to scarcely any other thing for a period of two whole years; by reason of which he so changed his method, transforming his bad manner into a good one, that notice was taken of him by the craftsmen. And, what was more, he so went to work with humility and every kind of loving service, that he became the friend of Raffaello da Urbino, who, being very courteous and not ungrateful, taught Benvenuto many things, and always assisted and favoured him.
If Benvenuto had pursued his studies in Rome, without a doubt he [Pg 26] would have done things worthy of his beautiful genius; but he was constrained, I know not by what cause, to return to his own country. In taking leave of Raffaello, he promised that he would, as that master advised him, return to Rome, where Raffaello assured him that he would give him more than enough in the way of work, and that in honourable undertakings. Having then arrived in Ferrara, Benvenuto settled the affairs and despatched the business that had caused him to return; and he was preparing himself to make his way back to Rome, when the Lord Duke Alfonso of Ferrara set him to decorate a little chapel in the Castle, in company with other Ferrarese painters. That work finished, his departure was again delayed by the great courtesy of M. Antonio Costabili, a Ferrarese gentleman of much authority, who gave him an altar-piece to paint in oils for the high-altar of the Church of S. Andrea; which finished, he was forced to execute another for S. Bartolo, a convent of Cistercian Monks, wherein he painted the Adoration of the Magi, which was beautiful and much extolled. He then painted another for the Duomo, full of figures many and various, and two others that were placed in the Church of S. Spirito, in one of which is the Virgin in the air with the Child in her arms, and some other figures below, and in the other the Nativity of Jesus Christ.
THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS
(After the painting by Benvenuto Garofalo. Ferrara: Pinacoteca, 1519)
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In executing those works, remembering at times how he had turned his back on Rome, he felt the bitterest regret; and he had resolved at all costs to return thither, when, his father Piero's death taking place, all his plans were broken off; for, finding himself burdened with a sister ready for a husband and a brother fourteen years of age, and his affairs in disorder, he was forced to compose his mind and resign himself to live in his native place. And so, after parting company with the Dossi, who had worked with him up to that time, he painted by himself in the Church of S. Francesco, in a little chapel, the Raising of Lazarus, a work filled with a variety of good figures, and pleasant in colouring, with attitudes spirited and vivacious, which brought him much commendation. In another chapel in the same church he painted the Massacre of the Innocents, cruelly done to death by Herod, so well and with such spirited movements in the soldiers and other figures, that it was a marvel. Very [Pg 27] well depicted, in addition, are different expressions in the great variety of heads, such as terror in the mothers and nurses, death in the infants, and cruelty in the slayers, and many other things, which gave infinite satisfaction. It is worthy of remark that in executing that work Benvenuto did a thing that up to that time had never been done in Lombardy—namely, he made models of clay, the better to see the shadows and lights, and availed himself of a figure-model made of wood, jointed in such a way that the limbs moved in every direction, which he arranged as he wished, in various attitudes, with draperies over it. But what is most important is that he copied every least detail from life and nature, as one who knew that the true way is to observe and imitate the reality. For the same church he executed the altar-piece of a chapel; and on a wall he painted in fresco Christ taken by the multitude in the Garden.
For S. Domenico, in the same city, he painted two altar-pieces in oils; in one is the Miracle of the Cross and S. Helen, and in the other is S. Peter Martyr with a good number of very beautiful figures, wherein it is evident that Benvenuto departed considerably from his first manner, making it bolder and less laboured. For the Nuns of S. Salvestro he painted an altar-picture of Christ praying to His Father on the Mount, while the three Apostles are lower down, sleeping. For the Nuns of S. Gabriello he executed an Annunciation, and for those of S. Antonio, in the altar-piece of their high-altar, the Resurrection of Christ. For the high-altar of the Frati Ingesuati, in the Church of S. Girolamo, he painted Jesus Christ in the Manger, with a choir of Angels on a cloud, held to be very beautiful. In S. Maria del Vado, in an altar-piece by the same hand, very well conceived and coloured, is Christ ascending into Heaven, with the Apostles standing in contemplation of Him. For the Church of S. Giorgio, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto, without the city, he painted an altar-piece in oils of the Magi adoring Christ and offering to Him myrrh, incense, and gold; and this is one of the best works that Benvenuto ever executed in all his life.
All these works much pleased the people of Ferrara, by reason of which he executed pictures almost without number for their houses, and many others for monasteries and for the townships and villas round [Pg 28] about the city; and, among others, he painted the Resurrection of Christ in an altar-piece for Bondeno. And, finally, he executed in fresco with beautiful and fantastic invention, in the Refectory of S. Andrea, many figures that are bringing the Old Testament into accord with the New. But, since the works of this master are numberless, let it be enough to have spoken of those that are the best.
Girolamo da Carpi having received his first instructions in painting from Benvenuto, as will be related in his Life, they painted in company the façade of the house of the Muzzarelli, in the Borgo Nuovo, partly in chiaroscuro and partly in colours, with some things done in imitation of bronze. They painted together, likewise, both within and without, the Palace of Coppara, a place of recreation belonging to the Duke of Ferrara; for which lord Benvenuto executed many other works, both by himself and in company with other painters.
Then, having lived a long time in the determination that he would not take a wife, in the end, after separating from his brother and growing weary of living alone, at the age of forty-eight he took one; but he had scarcely had her a year, when, falling grievously ill, he lost the sight of his right eye, and was in fear and peril of the other. However, having recommended himself to God and made a vow that he would always dress in grey, as he afterwards did, by the grace of God he preserved the sight of the other eye, insomuch that the works executed by him at the age of sixty-five were so well done, and with such diligence and finish, that it was a marvel. Wherefore on one occasion, when the Duke of Ferrara showed to Pope Paul III a Triumph of Bacchus in oils, five braccia in length, and the Calumny of Apelles, painted by Benvenuto at that age after the designs of Raffaello da Urbino, which pictures are now over certain chimney-pieces belonging to his Excellency, that Pontiff was struck with astonishment that an old man of such an age, with only one eye, should have executed works so large and so beautiful.
On every feast-day for twenty whole years Benvenuto worked for the love of God in the Convent of the Nuns of S. Bernardino, where he executed many works of importance in oils, in distemper, and in fresco; which was certainly a marvellous thing, and a great proof of his true [Pg 29] and good nature, for in that place he had no competition, and nevertheless put no less study and diligence into his labour than he would have done at any other more frequented place. Those works are passing good in composition, with beautiful expressions in the heads, not confused, and executed in a truly sweet and good manner.
For all the disciples that Benvenuto had, although he taught them everything that he knew with no ordinary willingness, in order to make some of them excellent masters, he never had any success with a single one of them, and, in place of being rewarded by them for his lovingness at least with gratitude of heart, he never received anything from them save vexations; wherefore he used to say that he had never had any enemies but his own disciples and assistants. In the year 1550, being now old, and the malady returning to his eye, he became wholly blind, and he lived thus for nine years; which misfortune he bore with a patient mind, resigning himself completely to the will of God. Finally, when he had come to the age of seventy-eight, thinking at last that he had lived too long in that darkness, and rejoicing in death, in the hope of going to enjoy eternal light, he finished the course of his life on the 6th of September in the year 1559, leaving a son called Girolamo, who is a very gentle person, and a daughter.
Benvenuto was a very honest creature, fond of a jest, pleasant in his conversation, patient and calm in all his adversities. As a young man he delighted in fencing and playing the lute, and in his friendships he was loving beyond measure and prodigal with his services. He was the friend of the painter Giorgione da Castelfranco, Tiziano da Cadore, and Giulio Romano, and most affectionate towards all the men of art in general; and to this I can bear witness, for on the two occasions when I was at Ferrara in his time I received from him innumerable favours and courtesies. He was buried with honour in the Church of S. Maria del Vado, and was celebrated in verse and prose by many choice spirits no less than his talents deserved. But it has not been possible to obtain Benvenuto's portrait, and therefore there has been placed at the head of these Lives of the Lombard painters that of Girolamo da Carpi, whose Life we are now about to write.
THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI
(After the painting by Benvenuto Garofalo. Ferrara: Pinacoteca, 1537)
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[Pg 30] Girolamo, then, called Da Carpi, who was a Ferrarese and a disciple of Benvenuto, was employed at first by his father Tommaso, who was a kind of house-painter, in his workshop, to paint strong-boxes, stools, mouldings, and other suchlike commonplace things. After Girolamo had made some proficience under the discipline of Benvenuto, he began to think that he should be removed by his father from those base labours; but Tommaso, as one who had need of money, would do nothing of the kind, and Girolamo resolved at all costs to leave him. And so he went to Bologna, where he received no little favour from the gentlemen of that city; wherefore, having made some portraits, which were passing good likenesses, he acquired so much credit that he earned much money and assisted his father more while living at Bologna than he had done when staying in Ferrara. At that time there was brought to the house of the noble Counts Ercolani at Bologna a picture by the hand of Antonio da Correggio, in which Christ is appearing to Mary Magdalene in the form of a gardener, executed with incredible softness and excellence; and that manner so took possession of Girolamo's heart, that, not content with having copied that picture, he went to Modena to see the other works by the hand of Correggio. Having arrived there, besides being filled with marvel at the sight of them, one among them in particular struck him with amazement, and that was the great picture, a divine work, in which is the Madonna, with the Child in her arms marrying S. Catharine, a S. Sebastian, and other figures, with an air of such beauty in the heads, that they appear as if made in Paradise; nor is it possible to find more beautiful hair, more lovely hands, or any colouring more pleasing and natural. Having then received permission to copy it from the owner of the picture, Messer Francesco Grillenzoni, a doctor, who was much the friend of Correggio, Girolamo copied it with the greatest diligence that it is possible to imagine. After that he did the same with the altar-picture of S. Peter Martyr, which Correggio had painted for a Company of Secular Priests, who hold it in very great price, as it deserves, there being in it, in particular, besides other figures, an Infant Christ in the lap of His Mother, who appears as if breathing, and a most beautiful S. Peter Martyr; and another little altar-piece by the same hand, painted for the [Pg 31] Company of S. Bastiano, and no less beautiful than the other. All these works, thus copied by Girolamo, were the reason that he so improved his manner, that it did not appear like his original manner, or in any way the same thing.
From Modena Girolamo went to Parma, where he had heard that there were some works by the same Correggio, and he copied some of the pictures in the tribune of the Duomo, considering them extraordinary works, particularly the beautiful foreshortening of the Madonna, who is ascending into Heaven, surrounded by a multitude of Angels, with the Apostles, who are standing gazing on her as she ascends, and four Saints, Protectors of that city, who are in the niches—S. John the Baptist, who is holding a lamb; S. Joseph, the husband of Our Lady; S. Bernardo degli Uberti the Florentine, a Cardinal and Bishop of Florence; and another Bishop. Girolamo likewise studied the figures by the hand of the same Correggio in the recess of the principal chapel in S. Giovanni Evangelista—namely, the Coronation of the Madonna, with S. John the Evangelist, the Baptist, S. Benedict, S. Placido, and a multitude of Angels who are about them; and the marvellous figures that are in the Chapel of S. Gioseffo in the Church of S. Sepolcro—a divine example of panel-painting.
Now, since it is inevitable that those who are pleased to follow some particular manner, and who study it with lovingness, should acquire it—at least, in some degree (whence it also happens that many become more excellent than their masters)—Girolamo caught not a little of Correggio's manner; wherefore, after returning to Bologna, he imitated him always, not studying any other thing but that manner and that altar-piece by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino which we mentioned as being in that city. And all these particulars I heard from Girolamo da Carpi, who was much my friend, at Rome in the year 1550; and he lamented very often to me that he had consumed his youth and his best years in Ferrara and Bologna, and not in Rome or some other place, where, without a doubt, he would have made much greater proficience. No little harm, also, did Girolamo suffer in matters of art from his having given too much attention to amorous delights and to playing the lute at the time when he might have been making progress in painting.
[Pg 32] Having returned, then, to Bologna, he made a portrait, among others, of Messer Onofrio Bartolini, a Florentine, who was then in that city for his studies, and afterwards became Archbishop of Pisa; and that head, which is now in the possession of the heirs of that Messer Noferi, is very beautiful and in a manner full of grace. There was working in Bologna at this time a certain Maestro Biagio, a painter, who, perceiving that Girolamo was coming into good repute, began to be afraid lest he might outstrip him and deprive him of all his profits. Wherefore, seizing a good occasion, he established a friendship with Girolamo, with the intention of hindering him in his work, and became his intimate companion to such purpose, that they began to work in company; and so they continued for a while. This friendship was harmful to Girolamo, not only in the matter of his earnings, but likewise with respect to art, for the reason that he followed in the footsteps of Maestro Biagio (who worked by rule of thumb, and took everything from the designs of one master or another), and he, also, put no more diligence into his pictures.
Now in the monastery of S. Michele in Bosco, without Bologna, a certain Fra Antonio, a monk of that convent, had painted a S. Sebastian of the size of life, besides executing an altar-piece in oils for a convent of the same Order of Monte Oliveto at Scaricalasino, and some figures in fresco in the Chapel of S. Scholastica, in the garden of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, and Abbot Ghiaccino, who had compelled him to stay that year in Bologna, desired that he should paint the new sacristy of his church there. But Fra Antonio, who did not feel it in him to do so great a work, and perchance was not very willing to undergo such fatigue, as is often the case with that kind of man, so contrived that the work was allotted to Girolamo and Maestro Biagio, who painted it all in fresco. In the compartments of the vaulting they executed some little boys and Angels, and at the head, in large figures, the story of the Transfiguration of Christ, availing themselves of the design of that which Raffaello da Urbino painted for S. Pietro in Montorio at Rome; and on the other walls they painted some Saints, in which, to be sure, there is something of the good. But Girolamo, having recognized that to stay in company with Maestro Biagio was not the course for him, and, indeed, that it was his certain [Pg 33] ruin, broke up the partnership when that work was finished, and began to work for himself.
The first work that he executed on his own account was an altar-piece for the Chapel of S. Bastiano in the Church of S. Salvadore, in which he acquitted himself very well. But then, having heard of the death of his father, he returned to Ferrara, where for a time he did nothing save some portraits and works of little importance. Meanwhile, Tiziano Vecelli went to Ferrara to execute certain things for Duke Alfonso, as will be related in his Life, in a little closet, or rather, study, where Giovanni Bellini had already painted some pictures, and Dosso a Bacchanal rout of men which was so good, that, even if he had never done any other thing, for that alone he would deserve praise and the name of an excellent painter; and Girolamo, by means of Tiziano and others, began to have dealings with the Court of the Duke. And so, as it were to give a proof of his powers before he should do anything else, he copied the head of Duke Ercole of Ferrara from one by the hand of Tiziano, and counterfeited it so well, that it seemed the same as the original; wherefore it was sent, as a work worthy of praise, into France. Afterwards, having taken a wife and had children by her, sooner, perchance, than he should have done, Girolamo painted in S. Francesco at Ferrara, in the angles of the vaulting, the four Evangelists in fresco, which were passing good figures. In the same place he executed a frieze right round the church, which was a very large and abundant work, being full of half-length figures and little boys linked together in a very pleasing manner; and for that church, also, he painted an altar-picture of S. Anthony of Padua, with other figures, and another altar-piece of Our Lady in the air with two Angels, which was placed on the altar of Signora Giulia Muzzarelli, whose portrait was executed very well therein by Girolamo.
At Rovigo, in the Church of S. Francesco, the same master painted the Holy Spirit appearing in Tongues of Fire, which was a work worthy of praise for the composition and for the beauty of the heads. At Bologna, for the Church of S. Martino, he painted an altar-piece of the three Magi, with most beautiful heads and figures; and at Ferrara, in company with Benvenuto Garofalo, as has been related, the façade of [Pg 34] the house of Signor Battista Muzzarelli, and also the Palace of Coppara, a villa of the Duke's, distant twelve miles from Ferrara; and, again, in Ferrara, the façade of Piero Soncini in the Piazza near the Fishmarket, painting there the Taking of Goletta by the Emperor Charles V. The same Girolamo painted for S. Polo, a church of the Carmelite Friars in the same city, a little altar-piece in oils of S. Jerome with two other Saints, of the size of life; and for the Duke's Palace a great picture with a figure large as life, representing Opportunity, and executed with beautiful vivacity, movement and grace, and fine relief. He also painted a nude Venus, life-size and recumbent, with Love beside her, which was sent to Paris for King Francis of France; and I, who saw it at Ferrara in the year 1540, can with truth affirm that it was very beautiful. He also made a beginning with the decorations in the Refectory of S. Giorgio, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto at Ferrara, and executed a great part of them; but he left the work unfinished, and it has been completed in our own day by Pellegrino Pellegrini, a painter of Bologna.
SCENE FROM THE ÆNEID
(After the painting by Niccolò [Niccolò dell'Abate]. Modena: R. Galleria Estense)
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Now, if we were to seek to make particular mention of the pictures that Girolamo executed for many lords and gentlemen, the story would be longer than is our desire, and I shall speak of two only, which are most beautiful. From a picture by the hand of Correggio that the Chevalier Baiardo has at Parma, beautiful to a marvel, in which Our Lady is putting a shirt on the Infant Christ, Girolamo made a copy so like it that it seems the very same picture, and he made another copy from one by the hand of Parmigiano, which is in the cell of the Vicar in the Certosa at Pavia, doing this so well and with such diligence, that there is no miniature to be seen that is wrought with more subtlety; and he executed innumerable others with great care. And since Girolamo delighted in architecture, and also gave his attention to it, in addition to many designs of buildings that he made for private persons, he served in that art, in particular, Cardinal Ippolito of Ferrara, who, having bought the garden at Monte Cavallo in Rome which had formerly belonged to the Cardinal of Naples, with many vineyards belonging to individuals around it, took Girolamo to Rome, to the end that he might serve him not only in the buildings, but also in the truly regal ornaments of woodwork in that [Pg 35] garden. In this he acquitted himself so well, that everyone was struck with astonishment; and, indeed, I know not what other man could have done better than he did in executing in woodwork—which has since been covered with most beautiful verdure—works so fine and so pleasingly designed in various forms and in different kinds of temples, in which there may now be seen arranged the richest and most beautiful ancient statues that there are in Rome, some whole and some restored by Valerio Cioli, a Florentine sculptor, and by others.
By these works Girolamo came into very great credit in Rome, and in the year 1550 he was introduced by the above-named Cardinal, his lord, who loved him dearly, into the service of Pope Julius III, who made him architect over the works of the Belvedere, giving him rooms in that place and a good salary. But, since that Pontiff could never be satisfied in such matters, and, to make it worse, was hindered by understanding very little of design, and would not have in the evening a thing that had pleased him in the morning, and also because Girolamo had to be always contending with certain old architects, to whom it seemed strange to see a new man of little reputation preferred to themselves, he resolved, having perceived their envy and possible malignity, and also being rather cold by nature than otherwise, to retire. And so he chose, as the better course, to return to the service of the Cardinal at Monte Cavallo; for which action Girolamo was much commended, for it is too wretched a life to have to be always contending all day long and on every least detail with one person or another, and, as he used to say, it is at times better to enjoy peace of mind on bread and water than to sweat and strive amid grandeur and honours. Wherefore, after Girolamo had executed for his lord the Cardinal a very beautiful picture, which, when I saw it, pleased me very much, being now weary, he returned with him to Ferrara, to enjoy the peace of his home with his wife and children, leaving the hopes and rewards of fortune in the possession of his adversaries, who received from that Pope the same as he had done, neither more nor less.
While he was living thus at Ferrara, a part of the Castle was burned, I know not by what mischance, and Duke Ercole gave the charge of [Pg 36] restoring it to Girolamo, who did it very well, adorning it as much as is possible in that district, which suffers from a great dearth of stone wherewith to make carvings and ornaments; for which he well deserved to be always held dear by that lord, who rewarded him liberally for his labours. Finally, after having executed these and many other works, Girolamo died in the year 1556, at the age of fifty-five, and was buried in the Church of the Angeli, beside his wife. He left two daughters, and also three sons, Giulio, Annibale, and another.
Girolamo was a blithe spirit, very sweet and pleasing in his conversation, and in his work somewhat slow and dilatory. He was of middle stature, and he delighted beyond measure in music, and more in the pleasures of love than was perhaps expedient. The buildings of his patrons have been carried on since his death by the Ferrarese architect Galasso, a man of the most beautiful genius, and of such judgment in matters of architecture, that, in so far as may be seen from the ordering of his designs, he would have demonstrated his worth much more than he has done, if he had been employed in works of importance.
An excellent sculptor, and likewise a Ferrarese, has been Maestro Girolamo, who, living at Recanati, has executed many works in marble at Loreto after his master, Andrea Contucci, and has made many of the ornaments round that Chapel or House of the Madonna. This master—since the departure from that place of Tribolo, who was the last there, after he had finished the largest scene in marble, which is at the back of the chapel, wherein are the Angels carrying that house from Sclavonia into the forest of Loreto—has laboured there continually from 1534 to the year 1560, executing many works. The first of these was a seated figure of a Prophet of three braccia and a half, which, being good and beautiful, was placed in a niche that is turned towards the west; which statue, having given satisfaction, was the reason that he afterwards made all the other Prophets, with the exception of one, that facing towards the east on the outer side, over against the altar, which is by the hand of Simone Cioli of Settignano, likewise a disciple of Andrea Sansovino. The rest of those Prophets, I say, are by the hand of Maestro Girolamo, and are executed with much diligence and study and good skill of hand. [Pg 37] For the Chapel of the Sacrament the same master has made the candelabra of bronze about three braccia in height, covered with foliage and figures cast in the round, which are so well wrought that they are things to marvel at. And a brother of Maestro Girolamo's, who is an able master in similar works of casting, has executed many things in company with him at Rome, and in particular a very large tabernacle of bronze for Pope Paul III, which was to be placed in the chapel that is called the Pauline in the Palace of the Vatican.
Among the Modenese, also, there have been at all times craftsmen excellent in our arts, as has been said in other places, and as may be seen from four panel-pictures, of which no mention was made in the proper place because the master was not known; which pictures were executed in distemper a hundred years ago in that city, and, for those times, they are painted with diligence and very beautiful. The first is on the high-altar of S. Domenico, and the others in the chapels that are in the tramezzo of that church. And there is living in the same country at the present day a painter called Niccolò, who in his youth painted many works in fresco about the Beccherie, which have no little beauty, and for the high-altar of S. Piero, a seat of the Black Friars, in an altar-piece, the Beheading of S. Peter and S. Paul, imitating in the soldier who is cutting off their heads a similar figure by the hand of Antonio da Correggio, much renowned, which is in S. Giovanni Evangelista at Parma. Niccolò has been more excellent in fresco-painting than in the other fields of painting, and, in addition to many works that he has executed at Modena and Bologna, I understand that he has painted some very choice pictures in France, where he still lives, under Messer Francesco Primaticcio, Abbot of S. Martin, after whose designs Niccolò has painted many works in those parts, as will be related in the Life of Primaticcio.
Giovan Battista, also, a rival of that Niccolò, has executed many works in Rome and elsewhere, and in particular he has painted at Perugia, in the Chapel of Signor Ascanio della Cornia, in S. Francesco, many pictures of the life of S. Andrew the Apostle, in which he has acquitted himself very well. In competition with the above-named Niccolò, the [Pg 38] Fleming Arrigo, a master of glass windows, has painted in the same place an altar-piece in oils, containing the story of the Magi, which would be beautiful enough if it were not somewhat confused and overloaded with colours, which conflict with one another and destroy all the gradation; but he has acquitted himself better in a window of glass designed and painted by himself, and executed for the Chapel of S. Bernardino in S. Lorenzo, in the same city. But to return to Giovan Battista; having gone back after the above-named works to Modena, he has executed in the same S. Piero, for which Niccolò painted the altar-piece, two great scenes at the sides, of the actions of S. Peter and S. Paul, in which he has acquitted himself with no ordinary excellence.
In the same city of Modena there have also been some sculptors worthy to be numbered among the good craftsmen, for, in addition to Modanino, of whom mention has been made in another place, there has been a master called Il Modena, who has executed most beautiful works in figures of terra-cotta, of the size of life and even larger; among others, those of a chapel in S. Domenico at Modena, and for the centre of the dormitory of S. Piero (a monastery of Black Friars, likewise in Modena), a Madonna, S. Benedict, S. Giustina, and another Saint. To all these figures he has given so well the colour of marble, that they appear as if truly of that stone; not to mention that they all have beautiful expressions of countenance, lovely draperies, and admirable proportions. The same master has executed similar figures for the dormitory of S. Giovanni Evangelista at Parma; and he has made a good number of figures in the round and of the size of life for many niches on the outer side of S. Benedetto at Mantua, in the façade and under the portico, which are so fine that they have the appearance of marble.
THE MADONNA AND CHILD WITH S. JOHN
(After the terra-cotta by Il Modena [Antonio Begarelli]. Modena: Museo Civico)
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In like manner Prospero Clemente, a sculptor of Modena, has been, and still is, an able man in his profession, as is evident from the tomb of Bishop Rangone, by his hand, in the Duomo of Reggio, wherein is a seated statue of that prelate, as large as life, with two little boys, all very well executed; which tomb he made at the commission of Signor Ercole Rangone. In the Duomo of Parma, likewise, in the vaults below, there is by the hand of Prospero the tomb of the Blessed Bernardo degli Uberti, [Pg 39] the Florentine, Cardinal and Bishop of that city, which was finished in the year 1548, and much extolled.
Parma, also, has had at various times many excellent craftsmen and men of fine genius, as has been said above, for, besides one Cristofano Castelli, who painted a very beautiful altar-piece for the Duomo in the year 1499, and Francesco Mazzuoli, whose Life has been written, there have been many other able men in that city. Mazzuoli, as has been related, executed certain works in the Madonna della Steccata, but left that undertaking unfinished at his death, and Giulio Romano, having made a coloured design on paper, which may be seen in that place by everyone, directed that a certain Michelagnolo Anselmi, a Sienese by origin, but a citizen of Parma by adoption, being a good painter, should carry that cartoon into execution, wherein is the Coronation of Our Lady. This he did excellently well, in truth, so that he well deserved that there should be allotted to him a great niche—one of four very large niches that are in that temple—opposite to that in which he had executed the above-mentioned work after the design of Giulio. Whereupon, setting his hand to this, he carried well on towards completion there the Adoration of the Magi, with a good number of beautiful figures, making on the flat arch, as was related before in the Life of Mazzuoli, the Wise Virgins and the design of copper rosettes; but, when about a third of that work remained for him to do, he died, and so it was finished by Bernardo Soiaro of Cremona, as we shall relate in a short time. By the hand of that Michelagnolo is the Chapel of the Conception in S. Francesco, in the same city; and a Celestial Glory in the Chapel of the Cross in S. Pier Martire.
Girolamo Mazzuoli, the cousin of Francesco, as has been told, continuing the work in that Church of the Madonna, left unfinished by his kinsman, painted an arch with the Wise Virgins and adorned it with rosettes. Then, in the recess at the end, opposite to the principal door, he painted the Holy Spirit descending in Tongues of Fire on the Apostles, and in the last of the flat arches the Nativity of Jesus Christ, which, although not yet uncovered, he has shown to us this year of 1566, to our great pleasure, since it is a truly beautiful example of work in fresco. [Pg 40] The great central tribune of the same Madonna della Steccata, which is being painted by Bernardo Soiaro, the painter of Cremona, will also be, when finished, a rare work, and able to compare with the others that are in that place. But of all these it cannot be said that the cause has been any other than Francesco Mazzuoli, who was the first who with beautiful judgment began the magnificent ornamentation of that church, which, so it is said, was built after the designs and directions of Bramante.
(After Begarelli. Modena: S. Pietro)
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As for the masters of our arts in Mantua, besides what has been said of them up to the time of Giulio Romano, I must say that he sowed the seeds of his art in Mantua and throughout all Lombardy in such a manner that there have been able men there ever since, and his own works are every day more clearly recognized as good and worthy of praise. And although Giovan Battista Bertano, the principal architect for the buildings of the Duke of Mantua, has constructed in the Castle, over the part where there are the waters and the corridor, many apartments that are magnificent and richly adorned with stucco-work and pictures, executed for the most part by Fermo Ghisoni, the disciple of Giulio, and by others, as will be related, nevertheless he has not equalled those made by Giulio himself. The same Giovan Battista has caused Domenico Brusciasorzi to execute after his design for S. Barbara, the church of the Duke's Castle, an altar-piece in oils truly worthy to be praised, in which is the Martyrdom of that Saint. And, in addition, having studied Vitruvius, he has written and published a work on the Ionic volute, showing how it should be turned, after that author; and at the principal door of his house at Mantua he has placed a complete column of stone, and the flat module of another, with all the measurements of that Ionic Order marked, and also the palm, inch, foot, and braccio of the ancients, to the end that whoever so desires may be able to see whether those measurements are correct or not. In the Church of S. Piero, the Duomo of Mantua, which was the work and architecture of the above-named Giulio Romano, since in renovating it he gave it a new and modern form, the same Bertano has caused an altar-piece to be executed for each chapel by the hands of various painters; and two of these he has had painted after his own designs by the above-mentioned Fermo Ghisoni, one for the Chapel of [Pg 41] S. Lucia, containing that Saint and two children, and the other for that of S. Giovanni Evangelista. Another similar picture he caused to be executed by Ippolito Costa of Mantua, in which is S. Agata with the hands bound and between two soldiers, who are cutting and tearing away her breasts. Battista d'Agnolo del Moro of Verona painted for the same Duomo, as has been told, the altar-piece that is on the altar of S. Maria Maddalena, and Girolamo Parmigiano that of S. Tecla. Paolo Farinato of Verona Bertano commissioned to execute the altar-piece of S. Martino, and the above-named Domenico Brusciasorzi that of S. Margherita; and Giulio Campo of Cremona painted that of S. Gieronimo. And one that was better than any other, although all are very beautiful, in which is S. Anthony the Abbot beaten by the Devil in the form of a woman, who tempts him, is by the hand of Paolo Veronese. But of all the craftsmen of Mantua, that city has never had a more able master in painting than Rinaldo, who was a disciple of Giulio. By his hand is an altar-piece in S. Agnese in that city, wherein is Our Lady in the air, with S. Augustine and S. Jerome, which are very good figures; but him death snatched from the world before his time.
In a very beautiful antiquarium and study made by Signor Cesare Gonzaga, which is full of ancient statues and heads of marble, that lord has had the genealogical tree of the House of Gonzaga painted, in order to adorn it, by Fermo Ghisoni, who has acquitted himself very well in everything, and especially in the expressions of the heads. The same Signor Cesare has placed there, in addition, some pictures that are certainly very rare, such as that of the Madonna with the Cat which Raffaello da Urbino painted, and another wherein Our Lady with marvellous grace is washing the Infant Jesus. In another little cabinet made for medals, which has been beautifully wrought in ebony and ivory by one Francesco da Volterra, who has no equal in such works, he has some little antique figures in bronze, which could not be more beautiful than they are.
In short, between the last time that I saw Mantua and this year of 1566, when I have revisited that city, it has become so much more beautiful and ornate, that, if I had not seen it for myself, I would not believe [Pg 42] it; and, what is more, the craftsmen have multiplied there, and they still continue to multiply. Thus, to that Giovan Battista Mantovano, an excellent sculptor and engraver of prints, of whom we have spoken in the Life of Giulio Romano and in that of Marc'Antonio Bolognese, have been born two sons, who engrave copper-plates divinely well, and, what is even more astonishing, a daughter, called Diana, who also engraves so well that it is a thing to marvel at; and I who saw her, a very gentle and gracious girl, and her works, which are most beautiful, was struck with amazement.
Nor will I omit to say that in S. Benedetto, a very celebrated monastery of Black Friars at Mantua, renovated by Giulio Romano after a most beautiful design, are many works executed by the above-named craftsmen of Mantua and other Lombards, in addition to those described in the Life of the same Giulio. There are, then, works by Fermo Ghisoni, such as a Nativity of Christ, two altar-pieces by Girolamo Mazzuoli, three by Lattanzio Gambara of Brescia, and three others by Paolo Veronese, which are the best. In the same place, at the head of the refectory, by the hand of a certain Fra Girolamo, a lay-brother of S. Dominic, as has been related elsewhere, is a picture in oils which is a copy of the very beautiful Last Supper that Leonardo painted in S. Maria delle Grazie at Milan, and copied so well, that I was amazed by it. Of which circumstance I make mention again very willingly, having seen Leonardo's original in Milan, this year of 1566, reduced to such a condition, that there is nothing to be seen but a mass of confusion; wherefore the piety of that good father will always bear testimony in that respect to the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. By the hand of the same monk I have seen in the above-named house of the Mint, at Milan, a picture copied from one by Leonardo, in which are a woman that is smiling and S. John the Baptist as a boy, counterfeited very well.
THE PURIFICATION OF THE VIRGIN
(After the fresco by Giulio Campi. Cremona: S. Margherita)
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Cremona, as was said in the Life of Lorenzo di Credi and in other places, has had at various times men who have executed in painting works worthy of the highest praise. And we have already related that when Boccaccio Boccaccino was painting the great recess of the Duomo at Cremona and the stories of Our Lady throughout the church, Bonifazio [Pg 43] Bembi was also a good painter, and Altobello executed in fresco many stories of Jesus Christ with much more design than have those of Boccaccino. After these works Altobello painted in fresco a chapel in S. Agostino of the same city, in a manner full of beauty and grace, as may be seen by everyone. At Milan, in the Corte Vecchia—that is, the courtyard, or rather, piazza of the Palace—he painted a standing figure armed in the ancient fashion, much better than any of the others that were executed there by many painters about the same time. After the death of Bonifazio, who left unfinished the above-mentioned stories of Christ in the Duomo of Cremona, Giovanni Antonio Licinio of Pordenone, called in Cremona De' Sacchi, finished those stories begun by Bonifazio, painting there in fresco five scenes of the Passion of Christ with a grand manner in the figures, bold colouring, and foreshortenings that have vivacity and force; all which things taught the good method of painting to the Cremonese, and not in fresco only, but likewise in oils, for the reason that in the same Duomo, placed against a pilaster in the centre of the church, is an altar-piece by the hand of Pordenone that is very beautiful. Camillo, the son of Boccaccino, afterwards imitated that manner in painting in fresco the principal chapel of S. Gismondo, without the city, and in other works, and so succeeded much better than his father had done. That Camillo, however, being slow and even dilatory in his work, did not paint much save small things and works of little importance.
But he who imitated most the good manners, and who profited most by the competition of the above-named masters, was Bernardo de' Gatti, called Il Soiaro, of whom mention has been made in speaking of Parma. Some say that he was of Verzelli, and others of Cremona; but, wherever he may have come from, he painted a very beautiful altar-piece for the high-altar of S. Piero, a church of the Canons Regular, and in their refectory the story of the miracle that Jesus Christ performed with the five loaves and two fishes, satisfying an infinite multitude, although he retouched it so much "a secco," that it has since lost all its beauty. That master also executed under a vault in S. Gismondo, without Cremona, the Ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven, which was a [Pg 44] pleasing work and very beautiful in colouring. In the Church of S. Maria di Campagna at Piacenza, in competition with Pordenone and opposite to the S. Augustine that has been mentioned, he painted in fresco a S. George in armour and on horseback, who is killing the Serpent, with spirit, movement, and excellent relief. That done, he was commissioned to finish the tribune of that church, which Pordenone had left unfinished, wherein he painted in fresco all the life of the Madonna; and although the Prophets and Sibyls that Pordenone executed there, with some children, are beautiful to a marvel, nevertheless Soiaro acquitted himself so well, that the whole of that work appears as if all by one and the same hand. In like manner, some little altar-pieces that he has executed at Vigevano are worthy of considerable praise for their excellence. Finally, after he had betaken himself to Parma to work in the Madonna della Steccata, the great niche and the arch that were left incomplete through the death of Michelagnolo of Siena were finished by the hands of Soiaro. And to him, from his having acquitted himself well, the people of Parma have since given the charge of painting the great tribune that is in the centre of that church, where he is now constantly occupied in executing in fresco the Assumption of Our Lady, which, it is hoped, is to prove a most admirable work.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
(After the panel by Sofonisba Anguisciola. Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 109)
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While Boccaccino was still alive, but old, Cremona had another painter, called Galeazzo Campo, who painted the Rosary of the Madonna in a large chapel in the Church of S. Domenico, and the façade at the back of S. Francesco, with other works and altar-pieces by his hand that are in Cremona, all passing good. To him were born three sons, Giulio, Antonio, and Vincenzio; but Giulio, although he learned the first rudiments of art from his father Galeazzo, nevertheless afterwards followed the manner of Soiaro, as being better, and studied much from some canvases executed in colours at Rome by the hand of Francesco Salviati, which were painted for the weaving of tapestries, and sent to Piacenza to Duke Pier Luigi Farnese. The first works that this Giulio executed in his youth at Cremona were four large scenes in the choir of the Church of S. Agata, containing the martyrdom of that virgin, which proved to be such, that a well-practised master might perhaps not have [Pg 45] done them so well. Then, after executing some works in S. Margherita, he painted many façades of palaces in chiaroscuro, with good design. For the Church of S. Gismondo, without the city, he painted in oils the altar-piece of the high-altar, which was very beautiful on account of the diversity and multitude of the figures that he executed in it, in competition with the many painters who had worked in that place before him. After the altar-piece he painted there many things in fresco on the vaulting, and in particular the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles, who are foreshortened to be seen from below, with beautiful grace and great artistry. At Milan, for the Church of the Passione, a convent of Canons Regular, he painted a Christ Crucified on a panel in oils, with some Angels, the Madonna, S. John the Evangelist, and the other Maries. In the Nunnery of S. Paolo, a convent also in Milan, he executed four scenes, with the Conversion and other acts of that Saint. In that work he was assisted by Antonio Campo, his brother, who also painted for the Nunnery of S. Caterina at the Porta Ticinese, likewise in Milan, for a chapel in the new church, the architecture of which is by Lombardino, a picture in oils of S. Helen directing the search for the Cross of Christ, which is a passing good work. And Vincenzio, likewise, the third of those three brothers, having learned much from Giulio, as Antonio has also done, is a young man of excellent promise.
To the same Giulio Campo have been disciples not only his two above-named brothers, but also Lattanzio Gambara and others; but most excellent in painting, doing him more honour than any of the rest, has been Sofonisba Anguisciuola of Cremona, with her three sisters, which most gifted maidens are the daughters of Signor Amilcare Anguisciuola and Signora Bianca Punzona, both of whom belong to the most noble families in Cremona. Speaking, then, of Signora Sofonisba, of whom we said but little in the Life of Properzia of Bologna, because at that time we knew no more, I must relate that I saw this year in the house of her father at Cremona, in a picture executed with great diligence by her hand, portraits of her three sisters in the act of playing chess, and with them an old woman of the household, all done with such care and such spirit, that they have all the appearance of life, and are wanting in nothing save [Pg 46] speech. In another picture may be seen, portrayed by the same Sofonisba, her father Signor Amilcare, who has on one side one of his daughters, her sister, called Minerva, who was distinguished in painting and in letters, and on the other side Asdrubale, their brother, the son of the same man; and these, also, are executed so well, that they appear to be breathing and absolutely alive. At Piacenza, in the house of the reverend Archdeacon of the principal church, are two very beautiful pictures by the same hand: in one is the portrait of the Archdeacon, and in the other that of Sofonisba herself, and each of those figures lacks nothing save speech. That lady, having been brought afterwards by the Duke of Alva, as was related above, into the service of the Queen of Spain, in which she still remains at the present day with a handsome salary and much honour, has executed a number of portraits and pictures that are things to marvel at. Moved by the fame of which works, Pope Pius IV had Sofonisba informed that he desired to have from her hand the portrait of her serene Highness the Queen of Spain; wherefore, having executed it with all the diligence in her power, she sent it to Rome to be presented to him, writing to his Holiness a letter in the precise form given below:
THE MADONNA AND CHILD WITH SAINTS
(After the painting by Girolamo Romanino. Brescia: S. Francesco)
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"From the very reverend Nuncio of your Holiness I understood that you desired to have a portrait by my hand of her Majesty the Queen, my Liege-lady. And since I accepted this commission as a singular grace and favour, having thus to serve your Holiness, I asked leave of her Majesty, who granted it very willingly, recognizing therein the fatherly affection that your Holiness bears to her. Taking the opportunity presented by this Chevalier, I send it to you, and, if I shall have satisfied therein the desire of your Holiness, I shall receive infinite compensation; but I must not omit to tell you that if it were possible in the same way to present with the brush to the eyes of your Holiness the beauties of the mind of this most gracious Queen, you would see the most marvellous thing in all the world. But in those parts which can be portrayed by art, I have not failed to use all the diligence in my power [Pg 47] and knowledge, in order to present the truth to your Holiness. And with this conclusion, in all reverence and humility, I kiss your most holy feet.
"From the most humble servant of your Holiness,
"At Madrid, on the 16th of September, 1561."
To that letter his Holiness answered with that given below, which, having thought the portrait marvellously beautiful, he accompanied with gifts worthy of the great talents of Sofonisba:
"Pius Papa IV dilecta in Christo filia.
"We have received the portrait of the most gracious Queen of Spain, our dearest daughter, which you have sent to us; and it has been most acceptable to us, both on account of the person therein represented, whom we love with the love of a father by reason of her true piety and her other most beautiful qualities of mind, to say nothing of other reasons, and also because it has been very well and diligently executed by your hand. We thank you for it, assuring you that we shall hold it among our dearest possessions, and commending this your art, which, although it is marvellous, we understand to be the least of the many gifts that are in you. And with this conclusion we send you once again our benediction. May our Lord God preserve you.
"Dat. Romæ, die 15 Octob., 1561."
And let this testimony suffice to prove how great is the talent of Sofonisba.
A sister of hers, called Lucia, left at her death fame no less than that of Sofonisba, by means of some pictures by her hand that are no less beautiful and precious than those of her sister described above, as may be seen at Cremona from a portrait that she executed of Signor Pietro Maria, an eminent physician, but even more from another portrait, painted by that gifted maiden, of the Duke of Sessa, which was counterfeited [Pg 48] by her so well, that it would seem impossible to do better or to make a portrait with a more animated likeness.
The third of the sisters Anguisciuola, called Europa, is still a child in age. To her, a girl all grace and talent, I have spoken this very year; and, in so far as one can see from her works and drawings, she will be in no way inferior to Sofonisba and Lucia, her sisters. This Europa has executed many portraits of gentlemen at Cremona, which are altogether beautiful and natural, and one of her mother, Signora Bianca, she sent to Spain, which vastly pleased Sofonisba and everyone of that Court who saw it. Anna, the fourth sister, although but a little girl, is also giving her attention with much profit to design: so that I know not what to say save that it is necessary to have by nature an inclination for art, and then to add to that study and practice, as has been done by those four noble and gifted sisters, so much enamoured of every rare art, and in particular of the matters of design, insomuch that the house of Signor Amilcare Anguisciuola, most happy father of a fair and honourable family, appeared to me the home of painting, or rather, of all the arts. But, if women know so well how to produce living men, what marvel is it that those who wish are also so well able to create them in painting?
But to return to Giulio Campo, of whom I have said that those young women are the disciples; besides other works, a painting on cloth that he has made as a cover for the organ in the Cathedral Church, is executed with much study in distemper, with a great number of figures representing the stories of Esther and Ahasuerus and the Crucifixion of Haman. And in the same church there is a graceful altar-piece by his hand on the altar of S. Michael; but since Giulio is still alive, I shall say no more for the present about his works. Of Cremona, likewise, were the sculptor Geremia, who was mentioned by us in the Life of Filarete, and who has executed a large work in marble in S. Lorenzo, a seat of the Monks of Monte Oliveto; and Giovanni Pedoni, who has done many works at Cremona and Brescia, and in particular many things in the house of Signor Eliseo Raimondo, which are beautiful and worthy of praise.
THE CORONATION OF THE VIRGIN
(After the painting by Alessandro Bonvicino [Il Moretto or Moretto da Brescia]. Brescia: SS. Nazaro e Celso)
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In Brescia, also, there have been, and still are, persons most excellent [Pg 49] in the arts of design, and, among others, Girolamo Romanino has executed innumerable works in that city. The altar-piece on the high-altar of S. Francesco, which is a passing good picture, is by his hand, and so also the little shutters that enclose it, which are painted in distemper both within and without; and his work, likewise, is another altar-piece executed in oils that is very beautiful, wherein may be seen masterly imitations of natural objects. But more able than that Girolamo was Alessandro Moretto, who painted in fresco, under the arch of the Porta Brusciata, the Translation of the bodies of SS. Faustino and Jovita, with some groups of figures that are accompanying those bodies, all very well done. For S. Nazzaro, also in Brescia, he executed certain works, and others for S. Celso, which are passing good, and an altar-piece for S. Piero in Oliveto, which is full of charm. At Milan, in the house of the Mint, there is a picture by the hand of that same Alessandro with the Conversion of S. Paul, and other heads that are very natural, with beautiful adornments of draperies and vestments, for the reason that he much delighted to counterfeit cloth of gold and of silver, velvets, damasks, and other draperies of every kind, which he used to place on the figures with great diligence. The heads by the hand of that master are very lifelike, and hold to the manner of Raffaello da Urbino, and even more would they hold to it if he had not lived so far from Raffaello.
The son-in-law of Alessandro was Lattanzio Gambara, a painter of Brescia, who, having learned his art, as has been related, under Giulio Campo of Verona, is now the best painter that there is in Brescia. By his hand, in the Black Friars Church of S. Faustino, are the altar-piece of the high-altar, and the vaulting and walls painted in fresco, with other pictures that are in the same church. In the Church of S. Lorenzo, also, the altar-piece of the high-altar is by his hand, with two scenes that are on the walls, and the vaulting, all painted in fresco almost in the same manner. He has also painted, besides many other façades, that of his own house, with most beautiful inventions, and likewise the interior; in which house, situated between S. Benedetto and the Vescovado, I saw, when I was last in Brescia, two very beautiful portraits by his hand, [Pg 50] that of Alessandro Moretto, his father-in-law, which is a very lovely head of an old man, and that of the same Alessandro's daughter, his wife. And if the other works of Lattanzio were equal to those portraits, he would be able to compare with the greatest men of his art. But, since his works are without number, and he himself besides is still living, it must suffice for the present to have made mention of those named.
By the hand of Gian Girolamo Bresciano are many works to be seen in Venice and Milan, and in the above-mentioned house of the Mint there are four pictures of Night and of Fire, which are very beautiful. In the house of Tommaso da Empoli at Venice is a Nativity of Christ, a very lovely effect of night, and there are some other similar works of fantasy, in which he was a master. But, since he occupied himself only with things of that kind, and executed no large works, there is nothing more to be said of him save that he was a man of fanciful and inquiring mind, and that what he did deserves to be much commended.
Girolamo Mosciano of Brescia, after spending his youth in Rome, has executed many beautiful works in figures and landscapes, and at Orvieto, in the principal Church of S. Maria, he has painted two altar-pieces in oils and some Prophets in fresco, which are good works; and the drawings by his hand that are published in engraving, are executed with good design. But, since he also is alive, serving Cardinal Ippolito d'Este in the buildings and restorations that he is carrying out in Rome, in Tivoli, and in other places, I shall say no more about him at present.
There has returned recently from Germany Francesco Ricchino, likewise a painter of Brescia, who, besides many other pictures that he has painted in various places, has executed some works of painting in oils in the above-named S. Piero in Oliveto at Brescia, which are done with much study and diligence.
THE ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS
(After the painting by Gian Girolamo Bresciano [Savoldo]. Brescia: Palazzo Martinengo)
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The brothers Cristofano and Stefano, painters of Brescia, have a great name among craftsmen for their facility in drawing in perspective; and, among other works in Venice, they have counterfeited in painting on the flat ceiling of S. Maria dell'Orto a corridor of double twisted columns, similar to those of the Porta Santa in S. Pietro at Rome, which, resting on certain great consoles that project outwards, form a superb [Pg 51] corridor with groined vaulting right round that church. This work, when seen from the centre of the church, displays most beautiful foreshortenings, which fill with astonishment everyone who sees them, and make the ceiling, which is flat, appear to be vaulted; besides that it is accompanied by a beautiful variety of mouldings, masks, festoons, and some figures, which make a very rich adornment to the work, which deserves to be vastly extolled by everyone, both for its novelty and for its having been carried to completion excellently well and with great diligence. And, since this method gave much satisfaction to that most illustrious Senate, there was entrusted to the same masters another ceiling, similar, but small, in the Library of S. Marco, which, for a work of that kind, was very highly extolled. Finally, those brothers have been summoned to their native city of Brescia to do the same with a magnificent hall which was begun on the Piazza many years ago, at vast expense, and erected over a theatre of large columns, under which is a promenade. This hall is sixty-two full paces long, thirty-five broad, and likewise thirty-five in height at the highest point of its elevation; although it appears much larger, being isolated on every side, and without any apartment or other building about it. On the ceiling of this magnificent and most honourable hall, then, those two brothers have been much employed, with very great credit to themselves; having made a roof-truss for the roof (which is covered with lead) of beams of wood that are very large, composed of pieces well secured with clamps of iron, and having turned the ceiling with beautiful artistry in the manner of a basin-shaped vault, so that it is a rich work. It is true that in that great space there are included only three pictures painted in oils, each of ten braccia, which were painted by the old Tiziano; whereas many more could have gone there, with a richer, more beautiful, and better proportioned arrangement of compartments, which would have made that hall more cheerful, handsome, and ornate; but in every other part it has been made with much judgment.
THE HOLY FAMILY
(After the panel by Bramantino. Milan: Brera, 279)
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Now, having spoken in this part of our book, up to the present, of the craftsmen of design in the cities of Lombardy, it cannot but be well to say something about those of the city of Milan, the capital of that [Pg 52] province, of whom no mention has been made here, although of some of them we have spoken in many other places in this our work. To begin, then, with Bramantino, of whom mention has been made in the Life of Piero della Francesca of the Borgo, I find that he executed many more works than I have enumerated above; and, in truth, it did not then appear to me possible that a craftsman so renowned, who introduced good design into Milan, should have executed works so few as those that had come to my notice. Now, after he had painted in Rome, as has been related, some apartments for Pope Nicholas V, and had finished over the door of S. Sepolcro, in Milan, the Christ in foreshortening, the Madonna who has Him on her lap, the Magdalene, and S. John, which was a very rare work, he painted in fresco, on a façade in the court of the Mint in Milan, the Nativity of Christ our Saviour, and, in the Church of S. Maria di Brera, in the tramezzo, the Nativity of Our Lady, with some Prophets on the doors of the organ, which are foreshortened very well to be seen from below, and a perspective-view which recedes with a beautiful gradation excellently contrived; at which I do not marvel, he having always much delighted in the studies of architecture, and having had a very good knowledge of them. Thus I remember to have seen once in the hands of Valerio Vicentino a very beautiful book of antiquities, drawn with all the measurements by the hand of Bramantino, wherein were those of Lombardy and the ground-plans of many well-known edifices, which I drew from that book, being then a lad. In it was the Temple of S. Ambrogio in Milan, built by the Lombards, and all full of sculptures and pictures in the Greek manner, with a round tribune of considerable size, but not well conceived in the matter of architecture; which temple was rebuilt in the time of Bramantino, after his design, with a portico of stone on one side, and with columns in the manner of trunks of trees that have been lopped, which have in them something of novelty and variety. There, likewise, was drawn the ancient portico of the Church of S. Lorenzo in the same city, built by the Romans, which is a great work, beautiful and well worthy of note; but the temple there, or rather, the church, is in the manner of the Goths. In the same book was drawn the Temple [Pg 53] of S. Aquilino, which is very ancient, and covered with incrustations of marble and stucco, very well preserved, with some large tombs of granite. In like manner, there was the Temple of S. Piero in Ciel d'Oro at Pavia, in which place is the body of S. Augustine, in a tomb that is in the sacristy, covered with little figures, which, according to my belief, is by the hands of Agostino and Agnolo, the sculptors of Siena. There, also, was drawn the tower of brick built by the Goths, which is a beautiful work, for there may be seen in it, besides other things, some figures fashioned of terra-cotta after the antique, each six braccia high, which have remained in passing good preservation down to the present day. In that tower, so it is said, died Boetius, who was buried in the above-named S. Piero in Ciel d'Oro, now called S. Agostino, where there may be seen, even at the present day, the tomb of that holy man, with the inscription placed there by Aliprando, who restored and rebuilt the church in the year 1222. And, besides all these, there was in that book, drawn by the hand of Bramantino himself, the very ancient Temple of S. Maria in Pertica, round in shape, and built with fragments by the Lombards; in which place now lie the bones from the slaughter of the Frenchmen and others who were routed and slain before Pavia, when King Francis I of France was taken prisoner there by the Emperor Charles V.
(After the fresco by Bramantino. Milan: Brera, No. 494)
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But let us now leave drawings on one side: Bramantino painted in Milan the façade of the house of Signor Giovan Battista Latuate, with a most beautiful Madonna, and on either side of her a Prophet. On the façade of Signor Bernardo Scacalarozzo he painted four Giants in imitation of bronze, which are reasonably good; with other works that are in Milan, which brought him credit, from his having been the first light of a good manner of painting that was seen in Milan, and the reason that after him Bramante became, on account of the good form that he gave to his buildings and perspective-views, an excellent master in the matters of architecture; for the first things that Bramante studied were the works of Bramantino. Under the direction of Bramante was built the Temple of S. Satiro, which pleases me exceedingly, for it is a very rich work, adorned both within and without with columns, double corridors, and other ornaments, with the accompaniment of a most beautiful sacristy [Pg 54] all full of statues. But above all does the central tribune of that place merit praise, the beauty of which, as has been related in the Life of Bramante, was the reason that Bernardino da Trevio followed that method in the Duomo of Milan, and gave his attention to architecture, although his first and principal art was painting; having executed, as has been related, in a cloister of the Monastery of S. Maria delle Grazie, four scenes of the Passion in fresco, and some others in chiaroscuro.
(After the panel by Cesare da Sesto. Vienna: Imperial Gallery, 91)
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By that Bernardino was brought forward and much assisted the sculptor Agostino Busto, called Il Bambaja, of whom there has been an account in the Life of Baccio da Montelupo. Agostino executed some works in S. Marta, a convent of nuns in Milan, among which, although it is difficult to obtain leave to enter that place, I have seen the tomb of Monsignor de Foix, who died at Pavia, in the form of many pieces of marble, wherein are about ten scenes with little figures, carved with much diligence, of the deeds, battles, victories, and triumphant assaults on strongholds of that lord, and finally his death and burial. To put it briefly, that work is such that I, gazing at it in amazement, stood for a while marvelling that it was possible for works so delicate and so extraordinary to be done with the hand and with tools of iron; for there may be seen in that tomb, executed with the most marvellous carving, decorations of trophies, arms of every kind, chariots, artillery, and many other engines of war, and, finally, the body of that lord in armour, large as life, and almost seeming to be full of gladness, as he lies dead, at the victories that he had gained. And certainly it is a pity that this work, which is well worthy to be numbered among the most stupendous examples of the art, should be unfinished and left to lie on the ground in pieces, and not built up in some place; wherefore I do not marvel that some figures have been stolen from it, and then sold and set up in other places. The truth is that there is so little humanity, or rather, piety, to be found among men at the present day, that of all those who were benefited and beloved by de Foix not one has ever felt a pang for his memory or for the beauty and excellence of the work. By the hand of the same Agostino Busto are some works in the Duomo, and, as has been [Pg 55] related, the tomb of the Biraghi in S. Francesco, with many others that are very beautiful in the Certosa of Pavia.
A rival of Agostino was one Cristofano Gobbo, who also executed many works in the façade of the above-named Certosa and in the church, and that so well, that he can be numbered among the best sculptors that there were in Lombardy at that time. And the Adam and Eve that are in the east front of the Duomo of Milan, which are by his hand, are held to be rare works, and such as can stand in comparison with any that have been executed by other masters in those parts.
Almost at the same time there lived at Milan another sculptor called Angelo, and by way of surname Ciciliano, who executed on the same side (of the Duomo), and of equal size, a S. Mary Magdalene raised on high by four little Angels, which is a very beautiful work, and by no means inferior to those of Cristofano. That sculptor also gave his attention to architecture, and executed, among other works, the portico of S. Celso in Milan, which was finished after his death by Tofano, called Lombardino, who, as was said in the Life of Giulio Romano, built many churches and palaces throughout all Milan, and, in particular, the convent, church, and façade of the Nuns of S. Caterina at the Porta Ticinese, with many other buildings similar to these.
Silvio da Fiesole, labouring at the instance of Tofano in the works of that Duomo, executed in the ornament of a door that faces between the west and the north, wherein are several scenes from the life of Our Lady, the scene containing her Espousal, which is very beautiful; and that of equal size opposite to it, in which is the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, is by the hand of Marco da Grà, a passing well-practised sculptor. The work of these scenes is now being continued by a very studious young man called Francesco Brambilari, who has carried one of them almost to completion, a very beautiful work, in which are the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit. He has made, also, a drop-shaped console of marble, all in open-work, with foliage and a group of children that are marvellous; and over that work, which is to be placed in the Duomo, there is to go a statue in marble of Pope Pius IV, one of the Medici, and a citizen of Milan.
If there had been in that place the study of those arts that there is [Pg 56] in Rome and in Florence, those able masters would have done, and would still be doing, astonishing things. And, in truth, they are greatly indebted at the present day to the Chevalier Leone Lioni of Arezzo, who, as will be told, has spent much time and money in bringing to Milan casts of many ancient works, taken in gesso, for his own use and that of the other craftsmen.
But to return to the Milanese painters; after Leonardo da Vinci had executed there the Last Supper already described, many sought to imitate him, and these were Marco Oggioni and others, of whom mention has been made in Leonardo's Life. In addition to them, Cesare da Sesto, likewise a Milanese, imitated him very well; and, besides what has been mentioned in the Life of Dosso, he painted a large picture that is in the house of the Mint in Milan, a truly abundant and beautiful work, in which is Christ being baptized by John. By the same hand, also, in that place, is a head of Herodias, with that of S. John the Baptist in a charger, executed with most beautiful artistry. And finally he painted for S. Rocco, without the Porta Romana, an altar-piece containing that Saint as a very young man; with other pictures that are much extolled.
Gaudenzio, a Milanese painter, who in his lifetime was held to be an able master, painted the altar-piece of the high-altar in S. Celso. In a chapel of S. Maria delle Grazie he executed in fresco the Passion of Jesus Christ, with figures of the size of life in strange attitudes; and then, in competition with Tiziano, he painted an altar-piece for a place below that chapel, in which, although he was very confident, he did not surpass the works of the others who had laboured in that place.
Bernardino del Lupino, of whom some mention was made not very far back, painted in Milan, near S. Sepolcro, the house of Signor Gian Francesco Rabbia—that is, the façade, loggie, halls, and apartments—depicting there many of the Metamorphoses of Ovid and other fables, with good and beautiful figures, executed with much delicacy. And in the Monastero Maggiore he painted all the great altar-wall with different stories, and likewise, in a chapel, Christ scourged at the Column, with many other works, which are all passing good.
GAUDENZIO FERRARI: MADONNA AND CHILD
(Milan: Brera, 277. Panel)
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And let this be the end of the above-written Lives of various Lombard craftsmen.
(After the panel by Gaudenzio [Gaudenzio Ferrari]. Paris: Louvre, 1285)
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Although it appears in a certain sense impossible that one who imitates some man excellent in our arts, and follows in his footsteps, should not become in great measure like him, nevertheless it may be seen that very often the brothers and sons of persons of singular ability do not follow their kinsmen in this respect, but fall away strangely from their standard. Which comes to pass, I think, not because there are not in them, through their blood, the same fiery spirit and the same genius, but rather from another reason—that is, from overmuch ease and comfort and from an over-abundance of means, which often prevent men from becoming industrious and assiduous in their studies. Yet this rule is not so fixed that the contrary does not sometimes happen.
David and Benedetto Ghirlandajo, although they had very good parts and could have followed their brother Domenico in the matters of art, yet did not do so, for the reason that after the death of that same brother they strayed away from the path of good work, one of them, Benedetto, spending a long time as a wanderer, and the other distilling his brains away vainly in the study of mosaic. David, who had been much beloved by Domenico, and who loved him equally, both living and dead, finished after his death, in company with his brother Benedetto, many works begun by Domenico, and in particular the altar-piece of the high-altar in S. Maria Novella, that is, the part at the back, which now faces the choir; and some pupils of the same Domenico finished the predella in little figures, Niccolaio painting with great diligence, below the figure of S. Stephen, a disputation of that Saint, while Francesco Granacci, Jacopo [Pg 60] del Tedesco, and Benedetto executed the figures of S. Antonino, Archbishop of Florence, and S. Catharine of Siena. And they painted an altar-picture of S. Lucia that is in that place, with the head of a friar, near the centre of the church; and many other paintings and pictures that are in the houses of various individuals.
After having been several years in France, where he worked and earned not a little, Benedetto returned to Florence with many privileges and presents that he had received from that King in testimony of his talents. And finally, after having given his attention not only to painting but also to miniatures, he died at the age of fifty.
David, although he drew and worked much, yet did not greatly surpass Benedetto: and this may have come about from his being too prosperous, and from not keeping his thoughts fixed on art, who is never found save by him who seeks her, and, when found, must not be abandoned, or she flies away. By the hand of David, in the garden of the Monks of the Angeli in Florence, at the head of a path that is opposite to a door that leads into that garden, are two figures in fresco at the foot of a Crucifix—namely, S. Benedict and S. Romualdo—with some other similar works, little worthy to have any record made of them. But, while David himself would not give attention to art, it was not a little to his credit that he caused his nephew Ridolfo, the son of Domenico, to devote himself to it with all diligence, and set him on the right way; for that Ridolfo, who was under the care of David, being a lad of beautiful genius, was placed by him to practise painting, and provided with all facilities for study by his uncle, who repented too late that he had not studied that art, and had spent all his time on mosaic. David executed on a thick panel of walnut-wood, which was to be sent to the King of France, a Madonna in mosaic, with some Angels about her, which was much extolled. And, living at Montaione, a township in Valdelsa, where he had furnaces, glass, and wood at his command, he executed there many works in glass and mosaic, and in particular some vases, which were presented to the Magnificent Lorenzo de' Medici, the elder, and three heads, that of S. Peter, that of S. Laurence, and that of Giuliano de' Medici, on a dish of copper, which are now in the guardaroba of the Duke.
CHRIST BEARING THE CROSS
(After the painting by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo. London: National Gallery, 1143)
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[Pg 61] Meanwhile Ridolfo, drawing from the cartoon of Michelagnolo, was held to be one of the best draughtsmen thus employed, and was therefore much beloved by everyone, and particularly by Raffaello Sanzio of Urbino, who at that time, also being a young man of great reputation, was living in Florence, as has been related, in order to learn art. After Ridolfo had studied from that cartoon, and had become well-practised in painting under Fra Bartolommeo di San Marco, he already knew so much, according to the judgment of the best masters, that Raffaello, when about to go to Rome at the summons of Pope Julius II, left him to finish the blue drapery and other little things that were wanting in the picture of a Madonna that he had painted for some gentlemen of Siena; which picture Ridolfo, after he had finished it with much diligence, sent to Siena. And Raffaello had not been long in Rome before he sought in many ways to attract Ridolfo to that city, but he, having never been out of sight of the Cupola, as the saying goes, and not being able to reconcile himself to living out of Florence, never accepted any proposal made to him that would interfere with his living in that city.
For the Convent of the Nuns of Ripoli Ridolfo painted two altar-pieces in oils: in one the Coronation of Our Lady, and in the other a Madonna surrounded by certain Saints. For the Church of S. Gallo he painted in an altar-piece Christ bearing the Cross, with a good number of soldiers, and the Madonna and the other Maries, who are weeping in company with John, while Veronica is offering the Sudarium to Christ; all showing force and animation. That work, in which are many very beautiful heads, taken from life and executed with lovingness, acquired a great name for Ridolfo; and in it are portrayed his father and some lads who were working with him, and, of his friends, Poggino, Scheggia, and Nunziata, the head of the last-named being very lifelike. That Nunziata, although he was a puppet-painter, was in some things a person of distinction, and above all in preparing fireworks and the girandole that were made every year for the festival of S. John; and, since he was an amusing and facetious person, everyone took great pleasure in conversing with him. A citizen once saying to him that he was displeased with certain painters who could paint nothing but lewd things, and that [Pg 62] he therefore wished him to paint a picture of a Madonna that might be seemly, well advanced in years and not likely to provoke lascivious thoughts, Nunziata painted him one with a beard. Another meaning to ask from him a Christ on the Cross for a ground-floor room where he lived in summer, and not being able to say anything but "I want a Christ on the Cross for summer," Nunziata, who saw him to be a simpleton, painted him one in breeches.
But to return to Ridolfo. Having been commissioned to paint the Nativity of Christ in an altar-piece for the Monastery of Cestello, he exerted himself much, in order to surpass his rivals, and executed that work with the greatest diligence and labour at his command, painting therein the Madonna, who is adoring the Infant Christ, S. Joseph, and two figures, S. Francis and S. Jerome, kneeling. He also made there a most beautiful landscape, very like the Sasso della Vernia, where S. Francis received the Stigmata, and above the hut some Angels that are singing; and the whole work was very beautiful in colouring, and passing good in relief. About the same time, after executing an altar-piece that went to Pistoia, he set his hand to two others for the Company of S. Zanobi, which is beside the canonical buildings of S. Maria del Fiore; which altar-pieces were to stand on either side of the Annunciation that Mariotto Albertinelli had formerly painted there, as was related in his Life. Ridolfo, then, carried the two pictures to completion with great satisfaction to the men of that Company, painting in one S. Zanobi restoring a boy to life in the Borgo degli Albizzi in Florence, which is a very lively and spirited scene, for there are in it many heads portrayed from life, and some women who show very vividly their joy and astonishment at seeing the boy reviving and the spirit returning to him. In the other is the scene of the same S. Zanobi being carried dead by six Bishops from S. Lorenzo, where he was first buried, to S. Maria del Fiore, when, passing through the Piazza di S. Giovanni, an elm that was there, all withered, on the spot where there is now a column of marble, with a cross upon it in memory of the miracle, was no sooner touched (through the will of God) by the coffin wherein was the holy corpse, than it put forth leaves again and burst into bloom; which picture was no less beautiful than the others by Ridolfo mentioned above.
THE MIRACLE OF S. ZANOBI
(After the painting by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo. Florence: Uffizi, 1275)
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[Pg 63] Now those works were executed by that painter while his uncle David was still alive, and that good old man took the greatest pleasure in them, thanking God that he had lived so long as to see the art of Domenico come to life again, as it were, in Ridolfo. But finally, being seventy-four years of age, while he was preparing, old as he was, to go to Rome to take part in the holy Jubilee, he fell ill and died in the year 1525, and received burial from Ridolfo in S. Maria Novella, where the others of the Ghirlandajo family lie.
Ridolfo had a brother called Don Bartolommeo in the Angeli, a seat of the Monks of Camaldoli in Florence, who was a truly religious, upright, and worthy man; and Ridolfo, who loved him much, painted for him in the cloister that opens into the garden—that is, in the loggia where there are the stories of S. Benedict painted in verdaccio by the hand of Paolo Uccello, on the right hand as one enters by the door of the garden—a scene in which that same Saint, seated at table with two Angels beside him, is waiting for bread to be sent for him into the grotto by Romanus, but the Devil has cut the cord with stones; and the same Saint investing a young man with the habit. But the best figure of all those that are on that little arch, is the portrait of a dwarf who stood at the door of the monastery at that time. In the same place, over the holy-water font at the entrance into the church, he painted in fresco-colours a Madonna with the Child in her arms, and some Angels about her, all very beautiful. And in the cloister that is in front of the chapter-house, in a lunette over the door of a little chapel, he painted in fresco S. Romualdo with the Church of the Hermitage of Camaldoli in his hand: and not long afterwards a very beautiful Last Supper that is at the head of the refectory of the same monks, which he did at the commission of Don Andrea Doffi the Abbot, who had been a monk of that monastery, and who had his own portrait painted in a corner at the foot.
Ridolfo also executed three very beautiful stories of the Madonna, which have the appearance of miniatures, on a predella in the little Church of the Misericordia, in the Piazza di S. Giovanni. And for Matteo Cini, in a little tabernacle on the corner of his house, near the Piazza di S. Maria Novella, he painted Our Lady, S. Matthew the Apostle, and S. [Pg 64] Dominic, with two little sons of that Matteo on their knees, portrayed from life; which work, although small, is very beautiful and full of grace. For the Nuns of S. Girolamo, of the Order of S. Francesco de' Zoccoli, on the heights of S. Giorgio, he painted two altar-pieces; in one is S. Jerome in Penitence, very beautiful, with a Nativity of Jesus Christ in the lunette above, and in the other, which is opposite to the first, is an Annunciation, and in the lunette above S. Mary Magdalene partaking of the Communion. In the Palace that is now the Duke's he painted the chapel where the Signori used to hear Mass, executing in the centre of the vaulting the most Holy Trinity, and in the other compartments some little Angels who are holding the Mysteries of the Passion, with some heads representing the twelve Apostles. In the four corners he painted the four Evangelists in whole-length figures, and at the head the Angel Gabriel bringing the Annunciation to the Virgin, depicting in a kind of landscape the Piazza della Nunziata in Florence as far as the Church of S. Marco; and all this work is executed excellently well, with many beautiful ornaments. When it was finished, he painted in an altar-piece, which was placed in the Pieve of Prato, Our Lady presenting the Girdle to S. Thomas, who is with the other Apostles. For Ognissanti, at the commission of Monsignor de' Bonafè, Director of the Hospital of S. Maria Nuova, and Bishop of Cortona, he executed an altar-piece with Our Lady, S. John the Baptist, and S. Romualdo; and for the same patron, having served him well, he painted some other works, of which there is no need to make mention. He then copied the three Labours of Hercules (which Antonio del Pollaiuolo had formerly painted in the Palace of the Medici), for Giovan Battista della Palla, who sent them to France.
RIDOLFO GHIRLANDAJO: PORTRAIT OF A LADY
(Florence: Pitti, 224. Panel)
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After he had executed these and many other pictures, Ridolfo, happening to have in his house all the appliances for working in mosaic which had belonged to his uncle David and his father Domenico, and having also learned something of that work from the uncle, determined that he would try to do some work in mosaic with his own hand. Which having done, and finding that he was successful, he undertook to decorate the arch that is over the door of the Nunziata, wherein he made the Angel [Pg 65] bringing the Annunciation to Our Lady. But, since he had not the patience for putting together all those little pieces, he never again did any work in that field of art.
For a little church of the Company of Wool-carders at the head of the Campaccio, he painted in an altar-piece the Assumption of the Madonna, with a choir of Angels, and the Apostles about the Sepulchre. But by misadventure, the room in which the picture was having been filled in the year of the siege with green broom for making fascines, the damp so softened the gesso that it all peeled away; wherefore Ridolfo had to repaint it, and made in it his own portrait. At the Pieve of Giogoli, in a tabernacle that is on the high road, he painted Our Lady with two Angels; and in another tabernacle opposite to a mill of the Eremite Fathers of Camaldoli, which is on the Ema, beyond the Certosa, he painted many figures in fresco. By reason of all which works, Ridolfo, finding himself sufficiently employed, and living comfortably with a good income, would by no means rack his brains to do all that he could have done in painting, but rather became disposed to live like a gentleman and take life as it came.
For the visit of Pope Leo to Florence, he executed in company with his young men and assistants all the festive preparations in the house of the Medici, and decorated the Sala del Papa and the adjoining rooms, causing the chapel to be painted by Pontormo, as has been related. In like manner, for the nuptials of Duke Giuliano and Duke Lorenzo he executed the decorations and some scenery for comedies; and, since he was much beloved by those lords for his excellence, he received many offices by their means, and was elected to the Collegio as an honoured citizen. Ridolfo did not disdain also to make pennons, standards, and other suchlike things in plenty, and I remember having heard him say that three times he had painted the banners of the Potenze, which used every year to hold tournaments and keep the city festive. In short, all sorts of works used to be executed in his shop, so that many young men frequented it, each learning that which pleased him best.
Thus Antonio del Ceraiolo, having been with Lorenzo di Credi, was [Pg 66] then with Ridolfo, and afterwards, having withdrawn by himself, executed many works and portraits from life. In S. Jacopo tra Fossi there is by the hand of this Antonio an altar-piece, with S. Francis and S. Mary Magdalene at the foot of a Crucifix; and in the Church of the Servites, behind the high-altar, a S. Michelagnolo copied from that by Ghirlandajo in the Ossa of S. Maria Nuova.
Another disciple of Ridolfo, who acquitted himself very well, was Mariano da Pescia, by whose hand is a picture of Our Lady, with the Infant Christ, S. Elizabeth, and S. John, executed very well, in the above-mentioned chapel of the Palace, which Ridolfo had previously painted for the Signoria. The same Mariano painted in chiaroscuro the whole house of Carlo Ginori, in the street which takes its name from that family, executing there stories from the life of Samson, in a very beautiful manner. And if this painter had enjoyed a longer life than he did, he would have become an excellent master.
A disciple of Ridolfo, likewise, was Toto del Nunziata, who painted for S. Piero Scheraggio, in company with his master, an altar-piece of Our Lady, with the Child in her arms, and two Saints.
THE CRUCIFIXION WITH SS. FRANCIS AND MARY MAGDALENE
(After the panel by Antonio del Ceraiolo. Florence: Accademia, 163)
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But dear beyond all the others to Ridolfo was a disciple of Lorenzo di Credi, who was also with Andrea del Ceraiolo, called Michele, a young man of an excellent nature, who executed his works with boldness and without effort. This Michele, then, following the manner of Ridolfo, approached him so closely that, whereas at the beginning he received from his master a third of his earnings, they came to execute their works in company, and shared the profits. Michele looked upon Ridolfo always as a father, and loved him, and also was so beloved by him, that, as one belonging to Ridolfo, he has ever been and still is known by no other name but Michele di Ridolfo. These two, I say, loving each other like father and son, executed innumerable works in company. First, for the Church of S. Felice in Piazza, a place then belonging to the Monks of Camaldoli, they painted in an altar-piece Christ and Our Lady in the air, who are praying to God the Father for the people below, where some Saints are kneeling. In S. Felicita they painted two chapels in fresco, despatching them in an able manner; in one is the Dead Christ with the [Pg 67] Maries, and in the other the Assumption of Our Lady, with some Saints. For the Church of the Nuns of S. Jacopo delle Murate they executed an altar-piece at the commission of Bishop de' Bonafè of Cortona: and for the Convent of the Nuns of Ripoli another altar-piece with Our Lady and some Saints. For the Chapel of the Segni, below the organ in the Church of S. Spirito, they painted, likewise in an altar-piece, Our Lady, S. Anne, and many other Saints; for the Company of the Neri a picture of the Beheading of S. John the Baptist; and for the Monachine in Borgo S. Friano an altar-piece of the Annunciation. In another altar-piece, for S. Rocco at Prato, they painted S. Rocco, S. Sebastian, and between them Our Lady; and likewise, for the Company of S. Bastiano, beside S. Jacopo sopra Arno, they executed an altar-piece containing Our Lady, S. Sebastian, and S. James; with another for S. Martino alla Palma. And, finally, they painted for S. Alessandro Vitelli a S. Anne in a picture that was sent to Città di Castello, and placed in the chapel of that lord in S. Fiorido.
But, since the works and pictures that issued from Ridolfo's shop were without number, and even more so the portraits from life, I shall say only that a portrait was made by him of Signor Cosimo de' Medici when he was very young, which was a most beautiful work, and very true to life; which picture is still preserved in the guardaroba of his Excellency. Ridolfo was a rapid and resolute painter in certain kinds of work, and particularly in festive decorations; and thus, for the entry of the Emperor Charles V into Florence, he executed in ten days an arch at the Canto alla Cuculia, and another arch in a very short time at the Porta al Prato for the coming of the most illustrious Lady, Duchess Leonora, as will be related in the Life of Battista Franco. At the Madonna di Vertigli, a seat of the Monks of Camaldoli, without the township of Monte Sansovino, Ridolfo, having with him the above-named Battista Franco and Michele, executed in chiaroscuro, in a little cloister, all the stories of the life of Joseph; in the church, the altar-pieces of the high-altar, and a Visitation of Our Lady in fresco, which is as beautiful as any work in fresco that Ridolfo ever painted. But lovely beyond all others, in the venerable aspect of the countenance, is the figure of [Pg 68] S. Romualdo, which is on that high-altar. They also executed other pictures there, but it must suffice to have spoken of these. Ridolfo painted grotesques on the vaulting of the Green Chamber in the Palace of Duke Cosimo, and some landscapes on the walls, which much pleased the Duke.
Finally, having grown old, Ridolfo lived a very happy life, having his daughters married, and seeing his sons well started in the affairs of commerce in France and at Ferrara. And, although afterwards he found himself so oppressed by the gout that he stayed always in the house or had to be carried in a chair, nevertheless he bore that infirmity with great patience, and also some misfortunes suffered by his sons. Old as he was, he felt a great love for the world of art, and insisted on being told of, and at times on seeing, those works that he heard much praised, such as buildings, pictures, and other suchlike things that were being executed every day; and one day that the Lord Duke was out of Florence, having had himself carried in his chair into the Palace, he dined there and stayed the whole day, gazing at that Palace, which was so changed and transformed from what it was before, that he did not recognize it; and in the evening, when going away, he said: "I die happy, because I shall be able to carry to our craftsmen in the next world the news that I have seen the dead restored to life, the ugly rendered beautiful, and the old made young." Ridolfo lived seventy-five years, and died in the year 1560; and he was buried with his forefathers in S. Maria Novella.
His disciple Michele, who, as I have said, is called by no other name than Michele di Ridolfo, has painted in fresco, since Ridolfo left the world of art, three great arches over certain gates of the city of Florence; at S. Gallo, Our Lady, S. John the Baptist, and S. Cosimo, which are executed with very beautiful mastery; at the Porta al Prato, other similar figures; and, at the Porta alla Croce, Our Lady, S. John the Baptist, and S. Ambrogio; with altar-pieces and pictures without number, painted with good mastery. And I, on account of his goodness and capacity, have employed him several times, together with others, in the works of the Palace, with much satisfaction to myself and everyone besides. But that which pleases me most in him, in addition to his being a truly honest, [Pg 69] orderly, and God-fearing man, is that he has always in his workshop a good number of young men, whom he teaches with incredible lovingness.
A disciple of Ridolfo, also, was Carlo Portelli of Loro in the Valdarno di Sopra, by whose hand are some altar-pieces and innumerable pictures in Florence; as in S. Maria Maggiore, in S. Felicita, in the Nunnery of Monticelli, and, at Cestello, the altar-piece of the Chapel of the Baldesi on the right hand of the entrance into the church, wherein is the Martyrdom of S. Romolo, Bishop of Fiesole.
THE MADONNA GIVING THE GIRDLE TO S. THOMAS
(After the painting by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo. Prato: Duomo)
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In Udine, a city of Friuli, lived a citizen called Giovanni, of the family of the Nanni, who was the first of that family to give attention to the practice of embroidery, in which his descendants afterwards followed him with such excellence, that their house was called no longer De' Nanni but De' Ricamatori. Among them, then, one Francesco, who lived always like an honourable citizen, devoted to the chase and to other suchlike exercises, had in the year 1494 a son, to whom he gave the name Giovanni; and this son, while still a child, showed such inclination to design that it was a thing to marvel at, for, following behind his father in his hunting and fowling, whenever he had time he was for ever drawing dogs, hares, bucks, and, in short, all the kinds of birds and beasts that came into his hands; which he did in such a fashion that everyone was astonished. Perceiving this inclination, his father Francesco took him to Venice, and placed him to learn the art of design with Giorgione da Castelfranco; but, while working under him, the boy heard the works of Michelagnolo and Raffaello so extolled, that he resolved at all costs to go to Rome. And so, having obtained from Domenico Grimani, who was much his father's friend, letters of introduction to Baldassarre Castiglioni, the Secretary of the Duke of Mantua and a close friend of Raffaello da Urbino, he went off to that city. There, having been placed by that Castiglioni in the school of the young men of Raffaello, he learned excellently well the principles of art, a thing which is of great importance, for the reason that when a man begins by adopting a bad manner, it rarely [Pg 74] happens that he can abandon it without great difficulty, in order to learn a better.
Giovanni, then, having been only a very short time under the discipline of Giorgione in Venice, when he had once seen the sweet, graceful, and beautiful manner of Raffaello, determined, like a young man of fine intelligence, that he would at all costs attach himself to that manner. And so, his brain and hand being equal to his noble intention, he made so much proficience, that in a short time he was able to draw very well and to work in colour with facility and grace, insomuch that, to put it in a few words, he succeeded in counterfeiting excellently well every natural object—animals, draperies, instruments, vases, landscapes, buildings, and verdure; in which not one of the young men of that school surpassed him. But, above all, he took supreme delight in depicting birds of every kind, insomuch that in a short time he filled a book with them, which was so well varied and so beautiful, that it was a recreation and a delight to Raffaello. Living with Raffaello was a Fleming called Giovanni, who was an excellent master in depicting fruits, leaves, and flowers with a very faithful and pleasing likeness to nature, although in a manner a little dry and laboured; and from him Giovanni da Udine learned to make them as beautiful as his master, and, what is more, with a certain soft and pastose manner that enabled him to become, as will be related, supremely excellent in some fields of art. He also learned to execute landscapes with ruined buildings and fragments of antiquities, and likewise to paint landscapes and verdure in colours on cloth, in the manner that has been followed after him not only by the Flemings, but also by all the Italian painters.
Raffaello, who much loved the genius of Giovanni, in executing the altar-picture of S. Cecilia that is in Bologna, caused him to paint the organ which that Saint has in her hand; and he counterfeited it so well from the reality, that it appears as if in relief, and also all the musical instruments that are at the feet of the Saint. But what was of much greater import was that he made his painting so similar to that of Raffaello, that the whole appears as if by one and the same hand. Not long afterwards, excavations being made at S. Pietro in Vincula, among [Pg 75] the ruins and remains of the Palace of Titus, in the hope of finding figures, certain rooms were discovered, completely buried under the ground, which were full of little grotesques, small figures, and scenes, with other ornaments of stucco in low-relief. Whereupon, Giovanni going with Raffaello, who was taken to see them, they were struck with amazement, both the one and the other, at the freshness, beauty, and excellence of those works, for it appeared to them an extraordinary thing that they had been preserved for so long a time; but it was no great marvel, for they had not been open or exposed to the air, which is wont in time, through the changes of the seasons, to consume all things. These grotesques—which were called grotesques from their having been discovered in the underground grottoes—executed with so much design, with fantasies so varied and so bizarre, with their delicate ornaments of stucco divided by various fields of colour, and with their little scenes so pleasing and beautiful, entered so deeply into the heart and mind of Giovanni, that, having devoted himself to the study of them, he was not content to draw and copy them merely once or twice; and he succeeded in executing them with facility and grace, lacking nothing save a knowledge of the method of making the stucco on which the grotesques were wrought. Now many before him, as has been related, had exercised their wits on this, but had discovered nothing save the method of making the stucco, by means of fire, with gypsum, lime, colophony, wax, and pounded brick, and of overlaying it with gold; and they had not found the true method of making stucco similar to that which had been discovered in those ancient chambers and grottoes. But at that time works were being executed in lime and pozzolana, as was related in the Life of Bramante, for the arches and the tribune at the back in S. Pietro, all the ornaments of foliage, with the ovoli and other members, being cast in moulds of clay, and Giovanni, after considering that method of working with lime and pozzolana, began to try if he could succeed in making figures in low-relief; and so, pursuing his experiments, he contrived to make them as he desired in every part, save that the outer surface did not come out with the delicacy and finish that the ancient works possessed, nor yet so white. On which account he began to think that it might be necessary [Pg 76] to mix with the white lime of travertine, in place of pozzolana, some substance white in colour; whereupon, after making trial of various materials, he caused chips of travertine to be pounded, and found that it answered passing well, but that still the work was of a livid rather than a pure white, and also rough and granular. But finally, having caused chips of the whitest marble that could be found to be pounded and reduced to a fine powder, and then sifted, he mixed it with white lime of travertine, and discovered that thus he had succeeded without any doubt in making the true stucco of the ancients, with all the properties that he had desired therein. At which rejoicing greatly, he showed to Raffaello what he had done; wherefore he, who was then executing by order of Pope Leo X, as has been related, the Loggie of the Papal Palace, caused Giovanni to decorate all the vaulting there in stucco, with most beautiful ornaments bordered by grotesques similar to the antique, and with very lovely and fantastic inventions, all full of the most varied and extravagant things that could possibly be imagined. Having executed the whole of that ornamentation in half-relief and low-relief, he then divided it up with little scenes, landscapes, foliage, and various friezes, in which he touched the highest level, as it were, that art can reach in that field.
In all this he not only equalled the ancients, but also, in so far as one can judge from the remains that we have seen, surpassed them, for the reason that these works of Giovanni's, in beauty of design, in the invention of figures, and in colouring, whether executed in stucco or painted, are beyond all comparison superior to those of the ancients that are to be seen in the Colosseum, and to the paintings in the Baths of Diocletian and in other places. In what other place are there to be seen birds painted that are more lifelike and natural, so to speak, in colouring, in the plumage, and in all other respects, than those that are in the friezes and pilasters of the Loggie? And they are there in as many varieties as Nature herself has been able to create, some in one manner and some in another; and many are perched on bunches, ears, and panicles, not only of corn, millet, and buckwheat, but of all the kinds of cereals, vegetables, and fruits that earth has produced from the beginning of time for the sustenance and nourishment of birds. As for the fishes, [Pg 77] likewise, the sea-monsters, and all the other creatures of the water that Giovanni depicted in the same place, since the most that one could say would be too little, it is better to pass them over in silence rather than seek to attempt the impossible. And what should I say of the various kinds of fruits and flowers without number that are there, in all the forms, varieties, and colours that Nature contrives to produce in all parts of the world and in all the seasons of the year? What, likewise, of the various musical instruments that are there, all as real as the reality? And who does not know as a matter of common knowledge that—Giovanni having painted at the head of the Loggia, where the Pope had not yet determined what should be done in the way of masonry, some balusters to accompany the real ones of the Loggia, and over them a carpet—who, I say, does not know that one day, a carpet being urgently required for the Pope, who was going to the Belvedere, a groom, who knew not the truth of the matter, ran from a distance to take one of those painted carpets, being completely deceived? In short, it may be said, without offence to other craftsmen, that of all works of the kind this is the most beautiful, the most rare, and the most excellent painting that has ever been seen by mortal eye. And, in addition, I will make bold to say that this work has been the reason that not Rome only but also all the other parts of the world have been filled with this kind of painting, for, besides that Giovanni was the restorer and almost the inventor of grotesques in stucco and of other kinds, from this his work, which is most beautiful, whoever has wished to execute such things has taken his exemplar; not to mention that the young men that assisted Giovanni, who were many, and even, what with one time and another, innumerable, learned from the true master and filled every province with them.
Then, proceeding to execute the first range below those Loggie, Giovanni used another and quite different method in the distribution of the stucco-work and paintings on the walls and vaultings of the other Loggie; but nevertheless those also were very beautiful, by reason of the pleasing invention of the pergole of canes counterfeited in various compartments, all covered with vines laden with grapes, and with clematis, jasmine, roses, and various kinds of birds and beasts. Next, Pope Leo, [Pg 78] wishing to have painted the hall where the guard of halberdiers have their quarters, on the level of the above-named Loggie, Giovanni, in addition to the friezes of children, lions, Papal arms, and grotesques that are round that hall, made some divisions on the walls with imitations of variegated marbles of different kinds, similar to the incrustations that the ancient Romans used to make on their baths, temples, and other buildings, such as may be seen in the Ritonda and in the portico of S. Pietro. In another hall beside that one, which was used by the Chamberlains, Raffaello da Urbino painted in certain tabernacles some Apostles in chiaroscuro, large as life and very beautiful; and over the cornices of that work Giovanni portrayed from life many parrots of various colours which his Holiness had at that time, and also baboons, marmosets, civet-cats, and other strange creatures. But this work had a short life, for the reason that Pope Paul IV destroyed that apartment in order to make certain small closets and little places of retirement, and thus deprived the Palace of a very rare work; which that holy man would not have done if he had possessed any taste for the arts of design. Giovanni painted the cartoons for those hangings and chamber-tapestries that were afterwards woven in silk and gold in Flanders, in which are certain little boys that are sporting around various festoons, and as ornaments the devices of Pope Leo and various animals copied from life. These tapestries, which are very rare works, are still in the Palace at the present day. He also executed the cartoons for some tapestries full of grotesques, which are in the first rooms of the Consistory.
(After the fresco by Giovanni da Udine. Rome: The Vatican, Loggia)
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While Giovanni was labouring at those works, the Palace of M. Giovan Battista dall'Aquila, which had been erected at the head of the Borgo Nuovo, near the Piazza di S. Pietro, had the greater part of the façade decorated in stucco by the hand of the same master, which was held to be a remarkable work. The same Giovanni executed the paintings and all the stucco-work in the loggia of the villa that Cardinal Giulio de' Medici caused to be built under Monte Mario, wherein are animals, grotesques, festoons, and friezes of such beauty, that it appears as if in that work Giovanni had sought to outstrip and surpass his own self. Wherefore he won from that Cardinal, who much loved his genius, in [Pg 79] addition to many benefits that he received for his relatives, the gift of a canonicate for himself at Civitale in Friuli, which was afterwards given by Giovanni to a brother of his own. Then, having to make for the same Cardinal, likewise at that villa, a fountain with the water spouting through the trunk of an elephant's head in marble, he imitated in the whole work and in every detail the Temple of Neptune, which had been discovered a short time before among the ancient ruins of the Palazzo Maggiore, all adorned with lifelike products of the sea, and wrought excellently well with various ornaments in stucco; and he even surpassed by a great measure the artistry of that ancient hall by giving great beauty to those animals, shells, and other suchlike things without number, and arranging them very well. After this he made another fountain, but in a rustic manner, in the hollow of a torrent-bed surrounded by a wood; causing water to flow in drops and fine jets from sponge-stones and stalactites, with beautiful artifice, so that it had all the appearance of a work of nature. On the highest point of those hollow rocks and sponge-stones he fashioned a large lion's head, which had around it a garland formed of maidenhair and other plants, trained there with great artistry; and no one could believe what grace these gave to that wild place, which was most beautiful in every part and beyond all conception pleasing.
That work finished, after the Cardinal had made Giovanni a Chevalier of S. Pietro, he sent him to Florence, to the end that, when a certain chamber had been made in the Palace of the Medici (at that corner, namely, where the elder Cosimo, the builder of that edifice, had made a loggia for the convenience and assemblage of the citizens, as it was the custom at that time for the most noble families to do), he might paint and adorn it all with grotesques and stucco. That loggia having then been enclosed after the design of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, and given the form of a chamber, with two knee-shaped windows, which were the first to be made in that manner, with iron gratings, for the exterior of a palace, Giovanni adorned all the vaulting with stucco-work and painting, making in a medallion the six balls, the arms of the House of Medici, supported by three little boys executed in relief in attitudes of great beauty and grace. Besides this, he made there many most beautiful [Pg 80] animals, and also many most lovely devices of gentlemen and lords of that illustrious house, together with some scenes in half-relief, executed in stucco; and on the field of the vaulting he did the rest of the work in pictures, counterfeiting them after the manner of cameos in black and white, and so well, that nothing better could be imagined. There remained four arches beneath the vaulting, each twelve braccia in breadth and six in height, which were not painted at that time, but many years afterwards by Giorgio Vasari, as a young man of eighteen years, when he was in the service of Duke Alessandro de' Medici, his first lord, in the year 1535; which Giorgio executed there stories from the life of Julius Cæsar, in allusion to the above-named Cardinal Giulio, who had caused the work to be done. Giovanni then executed on a little barrel-shaped vault, beside that chamber, some works in stucco in the lowest of low-relief, and likewise some pictures, which are exquisite; but, although these pleased the painters that were in Florence at that time, being wrought with boldness and marvellous mastery, and filled with spirited and fantastic inventions, yet, since they were accustomed to a laboured manner of their own and to doing everything that they carried into execution with copies taken from life, they did not praise them without reserve, not being altogether decided in their minds, nor did they set themselves to imitate them, perhaps because they had not the courage.
Having then returned to Rome, Giovanni executed in the loggia of Agostino Chigi, which Raffaello had painted and was still engaged in carrying to completion, a border of large festoons right round the groins and squares of the vaulting, making there all the kinds of fruits, flowers, and leaves, season by season, and fashioning them with such artistry, that everything may be seen there living and standing out from the wall, and as natural as the reality; and so many are the various kinds of fruits and plants that are to be seen in that work, that, in order not to enumerate them one by one, I will say only this, that there are there all those that Nature has ever produced in our parts. Above the figure of a Mercury who is flying, he made, to represent Priapus, a pumpkin entwined in bind-weed, which has for testicles two egg-plants, and near the flower of the pumpkin he depicted a cluster of large purple figs, within one of [Pg 81] which, over-ripe and bursting open, the point of the pumpkin with the flower is entering; which conceit is rendered with such grace, that no one could imagine anything better. But why say more? To sum the matter up, I venture to declare that in that kind of painting Giovanni surpassed all those who have best imitated Nature in such works, for the reason that, besides all the other things, even the flowers of the elder, of the fennel, and of the other lesser plants are there in truly astonishing perfection. There, likewise, may be seen a great abundance of animals in the lunettes, which are encircled by those festoons, and certain little boys that are holding in their hands the attributes of the Gods; and, among other things, a lion and a sea-horse, being most beautifully foreshortened, are held to be divine.
Having finished that truly extraordinary work, Giovanni executed a very beautiful bathroom in the Castello di S. Angelo, and in the Papal Palace, besides those mentioned above, many other small works, which for the sake of brevity are passed over. Raffaello having then died, whose loss much grieved Giovanni, and Pope Leo having also left this world, there was no more place in Rome for the arts of design or for any other art, and Giovanni occupied himself for many months on some works of little importance at the villa of the above-named Cardinal de' Medici. And for the arrival of Pope Adrian in Rome he did nothing but the small banners of the Castle, which he had renewed twice in the time of Pope Leo, together with the great standard that flies on the summit of the highest tower. He also executed four square banners when the Blessed Antonino, Archbishop of Florence, and S. Hubert, once Bishop of I know not what city of Flanders, were canonized as Saints by the above-mentioned Pope Adrian; of which banners, one, wherein is the figure of that S. Antonino, was given to the Church of S. Marco in Florence, where the body of the Saint lies, another, wherein is the figure of S. Hubert, was placed in S. Maria de Anima, the church of the Germans in Rome, and the other two were sent to Flanders.
Clement VII having then been elected Supreme Pontiff, with whom Giovanni had a strait bond of service, he returned immediately from Udine, whither he had gone to avoid the plague, to Rome; where having [Pg 82] arrived, he was commissioned to make a rich and beautiful decoration over the steps of S. Pietro for the coronation of that Pope. And afterwards it was ordained that he and Perino del Vaga should paint some pictures on the vaulting of the old hall opposite to the lower apartments, which lead from the Loggie, which he had painted before, to the apartments of the Borgia Tower; whereupon Giovanni executed there a most beautiful design in stucco-work, with many grotesques and various animals, and Perino the cars of the seven planets. They had also to paint the walls of that same hall, on which Giotto, according as is written by Platina in the Lives of the Pontiffs, had formerly painted some Popes who had been put to death for the faith of Christ, on which account that hall was called for a time the Hall of the Martyrs. But the vaulting was scarcely finished, when there took place that most unhappy sack of Rome, and the work could not be pursued any further. Thereupon Giovanni, having suffered not a little both in person and in property, returned again to Udine, intending to stay there a long time; but in that he did not succeed, for the reason that Pope Clement, after returning from Bologna, where he had crowned Charles V, to Rome, caused Giovanni also to return to that city, where he commissioned him first to make anew the standards of the Castello di S. Angelo, and then to paint the ceiling of the great chapel, the principal one in S. Pietro, where the altar of that Saint is. Meanwhile, Fra Mariano having died, who had the office of the Piombo, his place was given to Sebastiano Viniziano, a painter of great repute, and to Giovanni a pension on the same of eighty chamber-ducats.
Then, after the troubles of the Pontiff had in great measure ceased and affairs in Rome had grown quiet, Giovanni was sent by his Holiness with many promises to Florence, to execute in the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo, which had been adorned with most excellent sculptures by Michelagnolo, the ornaments of the tribune, which is full of sunk squares that diminish little by little towards the central point. Setting his hand to this, then, Giovanni carried it excellently well to completion with the aid of many assistants, with most beautiful foliage, rosettes, and other ornaments of stucco and gold; but in one thing he failed in judgment, [Pg 83] for the reason that on the flat friezes that form the ribs of the vaulting, and on those that run crossways, so as to enclose the squares, he made foliage, birds, masks, and figures that cannot be seen at all from the ground, although they are very beautiful, by reason of the distance, and also because they are divided up by other colours, whereas, if he had painted them in colours without any other elaboration, they would have been visible, and the whole work would have been brighter and richer. There remained no more of the work to be executed than he would have been able to finish in a fortnight, going over it again in certain places, when there came the news of the death of Pope Clement, and Giovanni was robbed of all his hopes, particularly of that which he expected from that Pontiff as the reward and guerdon of this work. Wherefore, having recognized, although too late, how fallacious in most cases are the hopes based on the favour of Courts, and how often those who put their trust in the lives of particular Princes are left disappointed, he returned to Rome; but, although he would have been able to live there on his offices and revenues, serving also Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici and the new Pontiff, Paul III, he resolved to repatriate himself and to return to Udine.
Carrying that intention into effect, therefore, he went back to live in his native place with that brother to whom he had given the canonicate, determined that he would never more handle a brush. But in this also he was disappointed, for the reason that, having taken a wife and had children by her, he was in a manner forced by the instinct that a man naturally feels to bring up his children and to leave them in good circumstances, to set himself once more to work. He painted, then, at the entreaty of the father of the Chevalier Giovan Francesco di Spilimbergo, a frieze in a hall, filling it with children, festoons, fruits, and other things of fancy. After that, he adorned with lovely paintings and works in stucco the Chapel of S. Maria at Civitale; and for the Canons of the Duomo of that place he executed two most beautiful standards. And for the Confraternity of S. Maria di Castello, at Udine, he painted on a rich banner Our Lady with the Child in her arms, and an Angel full of grace who is offering to her that Castello, which stands on a hill in the [Pg 84] centre of the city. At Venice, in the Palace of Grimani, the Patriarch of Aquileia, he decorated with stucco-work and paintings a very beautiful chamber in which are some lovely little scenes by the hand of Francesco Salviati.
Finally, in the year 1550, Giovanni went to Rome to take part in the most holy Jubilee, on foot and dressed poorly as a pilgrim, and in the company of humble folk; and he stayed there many days without being known by anyone. But one day, while going to S. Paolo, he was recognized by Giorgio Vasari, who was riding in a coach to the same Pardon in company with Messer Bindo Altoviti, who was much his friend. At first Giovanni denied that it was he, but finally he was forced to reveal himself and to confess that he had great need of Giorgio's assistance with the Pope in the matter of the pension that he had from the Piombo, which was being denied to him by one Fra Guglielmo, a Genoese sculptor, who had received that office after the death of Fra Sebastiano. Giorgio spoke of this matter to the Pope, which was the reason that the bond was renewed, and afterwards it was proposed to exchange it for a canonicate at Udine for Giovanni's son. But afterwards, being again defrauded by that Fra Guglielmo, Giovanni went from Udine to Florence, after Pope Pius had been elected, in the hope of being assisted and favoured by his Excellency with that Pontiff, by means of Vasari. Having arrived in Florence, then, he was presented by Giorgio to his most illustrious Excellency, with whom he went to Siena, and then from there to Rome, whither there also went the Lady Duchess Leonora; and in such wise was he assisted by the kindness of the Duke, that he was not only granted all that he desired, but also set to work by the Pope with a good salary to give the final completion to the last Loggia, which is the one over that which Pope Leo had formerly caused him to decorate. That finished, the same Pope commissioned him to retouch all that first Loggia, which was an error and a thing very ill considered, for the reason that retouching it "a secco" caused it to lose all those masterly strokes that had been drawn by Giovanni's brush in all the excellence of his best days, and also the boldness and freshness that had made it in its original condition so rare a work.
[Pg 85] After finishing that work, Giovanni, being seventy years of age, finished also the course of his life, in the year 1564, rendering up his spirit to God in that most noble city which had enabled him for many years to live with so much success and so great a name. Giovanni was always, but much more in his last years, a God-fearing man and a good Christian. In his youth he took pleasure in scarcely any other thing but hunting and fowling; and his custom when he was young was to go hunting on feast-days with his servant, at times roaming over the Campagna to a distance of ten miles from Rome. He could shoot very well with the fusil and the crossbow, and therefore rarely returned home without his servant being laden with wild geese, ringdoves, wild ducks, and other creatures such as are to be found in those marshy places. Giovanni, so many declare, was the inventor of the ox painted on canvas that is made for using in that pursuit, so as to fire off the fusil without being seen by the wild creatures; and on account of those exercises of hunting and fowling he always delighted to keep dogs and to train them by himself.
Giovanni, who deserves to be extolled among the greatest masters of his profession, chose to be buried in the Ritonda, near his master Raffaello da Urbino, in order not to be divided in death from him to whom in life his spirit was always attached; and since, as has been told, each of them was an excellent Christian, it may be believed that they are still together in eternal blessedness.
Battista Franco of Venice, having given his attention in his early childhood to design, went off at the age of twenty, as one who aimed at perfection in that art, to Rome, where, after he had devoted himself for some time with much study to design, and had seen the manner of various masters, he resolved that he would not study or seek to imitate any other works but the drawings, paintings, and sculptures of Michelagnolo; wherefore, having set himself to make research, there remained no sketch, study, or even any thing copied by Michelagnolo that he had not drawn. Wherefore no long time passed before he became one of the first draughtsmen who frequented the Chapel of Michelagnolo; and, what was more, he would not for a time set himself to paint or to do any other thing but draw. But in the year 1536, festive preparations of a grand and sumptuous kind being arranged by Antonio da San Gallo for the coming of the Emperor Charles V, in which, as has been related in another place, all the craftsmen, good and bad, were employed, Raffaello da Montelupo, who had to execute the decorations of the Ponte S. Angelo with the ten statues that were placed upon it, having seen that Battista was a young man of good parts and a finished draughtsman, resolved to bring it about that he also should be employed, and by hook or by crook to have some work given to him to do. And so, having spoken of this to San Gallo, he so contrived that Battista was commissioned to execute in fresco four large scenes in chiaroscuro on the front of the Porta Capena, now called the Porta di S. Bastiano, through which the Emperor was to enter.
In that work Battista, without having hitherto touched colours, executed over the gate the arms of Pope Paul III and those of the Emperor [Pg 90] Charles, with a Romulus who was placing on the arms of the Pontiff a Papal crown, and on those of the Emperor an Imperial crown; which Romulus, a figure of five braccia, dressed in the ancient manner, with a crown on the head, had on the right hand Numa Pompilius, and on the left Tullus Hostilius, and above him these words—Quirinus Pater. In one of the scenes that were on the faces of the towers standing on either side of the gate, was the elder Scipio triumphing over Carthage, which he had made tributary to the Roman people; and in the other, on the right hand, was the triumph of the younger Scipio, who had ruined and destroyed that same city. In one of the two pictures that were on the exterior of the towers, on the front side, could be seen Hannibal under the walls of Rome, driven back by the tempest, and in the other, on the left, Flaccus entering by that gate to succour Rome against that same Hannibal. All these scenes and pictures, being Battista's first paintings, and in comparison with those of the others, were passing good and much extolled. And, if Battista had begun from the first to paint and from time to time to practise using colours and handling brushes, there is no doubt that he would have surpassed many craftsmen; but his obstinate adherence to a certain opinion that many others hold, who persuade themselves that draughtsmanship is enough for him who wishes to paint, did him no little harm. For all that, however, he acquitted himself much better than did some of those who executed the scenes on the arch of S. Marco, on which there were eight scenes, four on each side, the best of which were painted partly by Francesco Salviati, and partly by a certain Martino and other young Germans, who had come to Rome at that very time in order to learn. Nor will I omit to tell, in this connection, that the above-named Martino, who was very able in works in chiaroscuro, executed some battle scenes with such boldness and such beautiful inventions in certain encounters and deeds of arms between Christians and Turks, that nothing better could have been done. And the marvellous thing was that Martino and his assistants executed those canvases with such assiduity and rapidity, in order that the work might be finished in time, that they never quitted their labour; and since drink, and that good Greco, was continually being brought to them, [Pg 91] what with their being constantly drunk and inflamed with the heat of the wine, and their facility in execution, they achieved wonders. Wherefore, when Salviati, Battista, and Calavrese saw the work of these men, they confessed that for him who wishes to be a painter it is necessary to begin to handle brushes in good time; which matter having afterwards considered more carefully in his own mind, Battista began not to give so much study to finishing his drawings, and at times to use colour.
Montelupo then going to Florence, where, in like manner, very great preparations were being made for the reception of the above-named Emperor, Battista went with him, and when they arrived they found those preparations well on the way to completion; but Battista, being set to work, made a base all covered with figures and trophies for the statue on the Canto de' Carnesecchi that Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli had executed. Having therefore become known among the craftsmen as a young man of good parts and ability, he was much employed afterwards at the coming of Madama Margherita of Austria, the wife of Duke Alessandro, and particularly in the festive preparations that Giorgio Vasari made in the Palace of Messer Ottaviano de' Medici, where that lady was to reside.
These festivities finished, Battista set himself to draw with the greatest industry the statues of Michelagnolo that are in the new Sacristy of S. Lorenzo, to which at that time all the painters and sculptors of Florence had flocked to draw and to work in relief; and among these Battista made no little proficience, but, nevertheless, it was recognized that he had committed an error in never consenting to draw from the life and to use colours, or to do anything but imitate statues and little else besides, which had given his manner a hardness and dryness that he was not able to shake off, nor could he prevent his works from having a hard and angular quality, as may be seen from a canvas in which he depicted with much pains and labour the Roman Lucretia violated by Tarquinius. Consorting thus with the others and frequenting that sacristy, Battista formed a friendship with the sculptor Bartolommeo Ammanati, who was studying the works of Buonarroti there in company with many others. And of such a kind was that friendship, that [Pg 92] Ammanati took Battista into his house, as well as Genga of Urbino, and they lived thus in company for some time, attending with much profit to the studies of art.
Duke Alessandro having then been done to death in the year 1536, and Signor Cosimo de' Medici elected in his place, many of the servants of the dead Duke remained in the service of the new, but others did not, and among those who went away was the above-named Giorgio Vasari, who returned to Arezzo, with the intention of having nothing more to do with Courts, having lost Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, his first lord, and then Duke Alessandro; but he brought it about that Battista was invited to serve Duke Cosimo and to work in his guardaroba, where he painted in a large picture Pope Clement and Cardinal Ippolito, copying them from a work by Fra Sebastiano and from one by Tiziano, and Duke Alessandro from a picture by Pontormo. This picture was not of that perfection that was expected; but, having seen in the same guardaroba the cartoon of the "Noli me tangere" by Michelagnolo, which Pontormo had previously executed in colours, he set himself to make a cartoon like it, but with larger figures; which done, he painted a picture from it wherein he acquitted himself much better in the colouring. And the cartoon, which he copied exactly after that of Michelagnolo, was executed with great patience and very beautiful.
The affair of Monte Murlo having then taken place, in which the exiles and rebels hostile to the Duke were routed and captured, Battista depicted with beautiful invention a scene of the battle fought there, mingled with poetic fantasies of his own, which was much extolled, although there were recognized in the armed encounter and in the taking of the prisoners many things copied bodily from the works and drawings of Buonarroti. For the battle was in the distance, and in the foreground were the huntsmen of Ganymede, who were standing there gazing at Jove's Eagle carrying the young man away into Heaven; which part Battista took from the design of Michelagnolo, in order to use it to signify that the young Duke had risen by the grace of God from the midst of his friends into Heaven, or some such thing. This scene, I say, was first drawn by Battista in a cartoon, and then painted with supreme [Pg 93] diligence in a picture; and it is now, together with his other works mentioned above, in the upper apartments of the Pitti Palace, which his most illustrious Excellency has just caused to be completely finished.
Having thus been engaged on these and some other works in the service of the Duke, until the time when he took to wife the Lady Donna Leonora of Toledo, Battista was next employed in the festive preparations for those nuptials, on the triumphal arch at the Porta al Prato, where Ridolfo Ghirlandajo caused him to execute some scenes of the actions of Signor Giovanni, father of Duke Cosimo. In one of these that lord could be seen passing the Rivers Po and Adda, in the presence of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, who became Pope Clement VII, Signor Prospero Colonna, and other lords; and in another was the scene of the delivering of San Secondo. On the other side Battista painted in another scene the city of Milan, and around it the Camp of the League, which, on departing, the above-named Signor Giovanni leaves there. On the right flank of the arch he painted on one side a picture of Opportunity, who, having her tresses all unbound, was offering them with one hand to Signor Giovanni, and on the other side Mars, who was likewise offering him his sword. In another scene under the arch, by the hand of Battista, was Signor Giovanni fighting between the Tesino and Biegrassa upon the Ponte Rozzo, defending it, as it were like another Horatius, with incredible bravery. Opposite to this was the Taking of Caravaggio, and in the centre of the battle Signor Giovanni, who was passing fearlessly through fire and sword in the midst of the hostile army. Between the columns, on the right hand, there was in an oval Garlasso, taken by the same lord with a single company of soldiers, and on the left hand, between the two other columns, the bastion of Milan, likewise taken from the enemy. On the fronton, which was at the back of anyone entering, was the same Signor Giovanni on horseback under the walls of Milan, when, tilting in single combat with a knight, he ran him through from side to side with his lance. Above the great cornice, which reached out to the other cornice, on which the pediment rested, in another large scene executed by Battista with much diligence, there was in the centre the Emperor Charles V, who, crowned with laurel, was seated on a rock, with the [Pg 94] sceptre in his hand; at his feet lay the River Betis with a vase that poured water from two mouths, and beside that figure was the River Danube, which, with seven mouths, was pouring its waters into the sea. I shall not make mention here of the vast number of statues that accompanied the above-named pictures and others on that arch, for the reason that it is enough for me at the present moment to describe that which concerns Battista Franco, and it is not my office to give an account of all that was done by others in the festive preparations for those nuptials and described at great length; besides which, having spoken of the masters of those statues where the necessity arose, it would be superfluous for me to say anything about them here, and particularly because the statues are not now standing, so that they cannot be seen and considered. But to return to Battista: the best thing that he did for those nuptials was one of the ten above-mentioned pictures which were in the decorations in the great court of the Medici Palace, wherein he painted in chiaroscuro Duke Cosimo invested with all the Ducal insignia. But, for all the diligence that he used there, he was surpassed by Bronzino, and by others who had less design than himself, in invention, in boldness, and in the treatment of the chiaroscuro. For, as has been said before, pictures must be executed with facility, and the parts set in their places with judgment, and without that effort and that labour which make things appear hard and crude; besides which, overmuch study often makes them come out heavy and dark, and spoils them, while lingering over them so long takes away the grace, boldness and excellence that facility is wont to give them. And these qualities, although they come in great measure as gifts from nature, can also in part be acquired by study and art.
Having then been taken by Ridolfo Ghirlandajo to the Madonna di Vertigli in Valdichiana (which place was once attached to the Monastery of the Angeli, of the Order of Camaldoli, in Florence, and is now an independent body in place of the Monastery of S. Benedetto, which, being without the Porta a Pinti, was destroyed on account of the siege of Florence), Battista painted there the scenes in the cloister already mentioned, while Ridolfo was executing the altar-piece and the ornaments [Pg 95] of the high-altar. These finished, as has been related in the Life of Ridolfo, they adorned with other pictures that holy place, which is very celebrated and renowned for the many miracles that are wrought there by the Virgin Mother of the Son of God.
Battista then returned to Rome, at the very time when the Judgment of Michelagnolo had just been uncovered; and, being a zealous student of the manner and works of that master, he gazed at it very gladly, and in infinite admiration made drawings of it all. And then, having resolved to remain in Rome, at the commission of Cardinal Francesco Cornaro—who had rebuilt the palace that he occupied beside S. Pietro, which looks out on the portico in the direction of the Camposanto—he painted over the stucco a loggia that looks towards the Piazza, making there a kind of grotesques all full of little scenes and figures; which work, executed with much labour and diligence, was held to be very beautiful.
About the same time, which was the year 1538, Francesco Salviati, having painted a scene in fresco in the Company of the Misericordia, was to give it the final completion and to set his hand to others, which many private citizens desired to have painted; but, by reason of the rivalry that there was between him and Jacopo del Conte, nothing more was done; which hearing, Battista sought to obtain by this means an opportunity to prove himself superior to Francesco and the best master in Rome; and he so went to work, employing his friends and other means, that Monsignor della Casa, after seeing a design by his hand, allotted the work to him. Thereupon, setting his hand to it, he painted there in fresco S. John the Baptist taken at the command of Herod and cast into prison. But, although this picture was executed with much labour, it was not held to be equal by a great measure to that of Salviati, from its having been painted with very great effort and in a manner crude and melancholy, while it had no order in the composition, nor in a single part any of that grace and charm of colouring which Francesco's work possessed. And from this it may be concluded that those men are deceived who, in pursuing this art, give all their attention to executing well and with a good knowledge of muscles a torso, an arm, a leg, or other member, [Pg 96] believing that a good grasp of that part is the whole secret; for the reason that the part of a work is not the whole, and only he carries it to perfect completion, in a good and beautiful manner, who, after executing the parts well, knows how to make them fit in due proportion into the whole, and who, moreover, so contrives that the composition of the figures expresses and produces well and without confusion the effect that it should produce. And, above all, care must be taken to make the heads vivacious, spirited, gracious, and beautiful in the expressions, the manner not crude, and the nudes so tinted with black that they may have relief, melting gradually into the distance according as may be required; to say nothing of the perspective-views, landscapes, and other parts that good pictures demand, nor that in making use of the works of others a man should proceed in such a manner that this may not be too easily recognized. Battista thus became aware too late that he had wasted time beyond all reason over the minutiæ of muscles and over drawing with too great diligence, while paying no attention to the other fields of art.
TINTORETTO: BACCHUS AND ARIADNE
(Venice: Doge's Palace, Salon Anticollegio. Canvas)
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Having finished that work, which brought him little praise, Battista transferred himself by means of Bartolommeo Genga to the service of the Duke of Urbino, to paint a very large vaulting in the church and chapel attached to the Palace of Urbino. Having arrived there, he set himself straightway to make the designs according as the invention presented itself in the work, without giving it any further thought and without making any compartments. And so in imitation of the Judgment of Buonarroti, he depicted in a Heaven the Glory of the Saints, who are dispersed over that vaulting on certain clouds, with all the choirs of the Angels about a Madonna, who, having ascended into Heaven, is received by Christ, who is in the act of crowning her, while in various separate groups stand the Patriarchs, the Prophets, the Sibyls, the Apostles, the Martyrs, the Confessors, and the Virgins; which figures, in their different attitudes, reveal their rejoicing at the advent of that Glorious Virgin. This invention would certainly have given Battista a great opportunity to prove himself an able master, if he had chosen a better way, not only making himself well-practised in fresco-colours, but also proceeding [Pg 97] with better order and judgment than he displayed in all his labour. But he used in this work the same methods as in all his others, for he made always the same figures, the same countenances, the same members, and the same draperies; besides which, the colouring was without any charm, and everything laboured and executed with difficulty. When all was finished, therefore, it gave little satisfaction to Duke Guidobaldo, Genga, and all the others who were expecting great things from that master, equal to the beautiful design that he had shown to them in the beginning; for, in truth, in making beautiful designs Battista had no peer and could be called an able man. Which recognizing, the Duke thought that his designs would succeed very well if carried into execution by those who were fashioning vases of clay so excellently at Castel Durante, for which they had availed themselves much of the prints of Raffaello da Urbino and other able masters; and he caused Battista to draw innumerable designs, which, when put into execution in that sort of clay, the most kindly of all that there are in Italy, produced a rare result. Wherefore vases were made in such numbers and of as many kinds as would have sufficed to do honour to the credence of a King; and the pictures that were painted on them would not have been better if they had been executed in oils by the most excellent masters. Of these vases, which in the quality of the clay much resemble the kind that was wrought at Arezzo in ancient times, in the days of Porsenna, King of Tuscany, the above-named Duke Guidobaldo sent enough for a double credence to the Emperor Charles V, and a set to Cardinal Farnese, the brother of Signora Vittoria, his consort. And it is right that it should be known that of this kind of paintings on vases, in so far as we can judge, the Romans had none, for the vases of those times, filled with the ashes of their dead or used for other purposes, are covered with figures hatched and grounded with only one colour, either black, or red, or white; nor have they ever that lustrous glazing or that charm and variety of paintings which have been seen and still are seen in our own times. Nor can it be said that, if perchance they did have such things, the paintings have been consumed by time and by their having been buried, for the reason that we see our own resisting the assaults of time [Pg 98] and every other danger, insomuch that it may even be said that they might remain four thousand years under the ground without the paintings being spoilt. Now, although vases and paintings of that kind are made throughout all Italy, yet the best and most beautiful works in clay are those that are wrought, as I have said, at Castel Durante, a place in the State of Urbino, and those of Faenza, the best of which are for the most part of a very pure white, with few paintings, and those in the centre or on the edges, but delicate and pleasing enough.
But to return to Battista: for the nuptials of the above-mentioned Lord Duke and Signora Vittoria Farnese, which took place afterwards at Urbino, he, assisted by his young men, executed on the arches erected by Genga, who was the head of the festive preparations, all the historical pictures that were painted upon them. Now, since the Duke doubted that Battista would not finish in time, the undertaking being very great, he sent for Giorgio Vasari—who at that time was painting at Rimini, for the White Friars of Scolca, of the Order of Monte Oliveto, a large chapel in fresco and an altar-piece in oils for their high-altar—to the end that he might go to the aid of Genga and Battista in those preparations. But Vasari, feeling indisposed, made his excuses to his Excellency and wrote to him that he should have no doubt, for the reason that the talents and knowledge of Battista were such that he would have everything finished in time, as indeed, in the end, he did. Giorgio then going, after finishing his works at Rimini, to visit that Duke and to make his excuses in person, his Excellency caused him to examine, to the end that he might value it, the above-mentioned chapel that had been painted by Battista, which Vasari much extolled, recommending the ability of that master, who was largely rewarded by the great liberality of that lord.
THE POOL OF BETHESDA
(After the painting by Jacopo Tintoretto. Venice: S. Rocco)
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It is true, however, that Battista was not at that time in Urbino, but in Rome, where he was engaged in drawing not only the statues but all the antiquities of that city, and in making, as he did, a great book of them, which was a praiseworthy work. Now, while Battista was giving his attention to drawing in Rome, Messer Giovanni Andrea dell'Anguillara, a man truly distinguished in certain forms of poetry, having [Pg 99] got together a company of various choice spirits, was causing very rich scenery and decorations to be prepared in the large hall of S. Apostolo, in order to perform comedies by various authors before gentlemen, lords, and great persons. He had caused seats to be made for the spectators of different ranks, and for the Cardinals and other great prelates he had prepared certain rooms from which, through jalousies, they could see and hear without being seen. And since in that company there were painters, sculptors, architects, and men who were to perform the dramas and to fulfil other offices, Battista and Ammanati, having been chosen of the company, were given the charge of preparing the scenery, with some stories and ornaments in painting, which Battista executed so well (together with some statues that Ammanati made), that he was very highly extolled for them. But the great expenses of that place exceeded the means available, so that M. Giovanni Andrea and the others were forced to remove the prospect-scene and the other ornaments from S. Apostolo and to convey them into the new Temple of S. Biagio, in the Strada Giulia. There, Battista having once more arranged everything, many comedies were performed with extraordinary satisfaction to the people and courtiers of Rome; and from this origin there sprang in time the players who travel around, called the Zanni.
After these things, having come to the year 1550, Battista executed in company with Girolamo Siciolante of Sermoneta, for Cardinal di Cesis, on the façade of his palace, the coat of arms of Pope Julius III, who had been newly elected Pontiff, with three figures and some little boys, which were much extolled. That finished, he painted in the Minerva, in a chapel built by a Canon of S. Pietro and all adorned with stucco, some stories of the Madonna and of Jesus Christ in the compartments of the vaulting, which were the best works that he had ever executed up to that time. On one of the two walls he painted the Nativity of Jesus Christ, with some Shepherds, and Angels that are singing over the hut, and on the other the Resurrection of Christ, with many soldiers in various attitudes about the Sepulchre; and above each of those scenes, in certain lunettes, he executed some large Prophets. And finally, on the altar-wall, he painted Christ Crucified, Our Lady, S. John, [Pg 100] S. Dominic, and some other Saints in the niches; in all which he acquitted himself very well and like an excellent master.
But since his earnings were scanty and the expenses of Rome very great, after having executed some works on cloth, which had not much success, he returned to his native country of Venice, thinking by a change of country to change also his fortune. There, by reason of his fine manner of drawing, he was judged to be an able man, and a few days afterwards he was commissioned to execute an altar-piece in oils for the Chapel of Mons. Barbaro, Patriarch-elect of Aquileia, in the Church of S. Francesco della Vigna; in which he painted S. John baptizing Christ in the Jordan, in the air God the Father, at the foot two little boys who are holding the vestments of Christ, in the angles the Annunciation, and below these figures the semblance of a canvas superimposed, with a good number of little nude figures of Angels, Demons, and Souls in Purgatory, and with an inscription that runs—"In nomine Jesu omne genuflectatur." That work, which was certainly held to be very good, won him much credit and fame; indeed, it was the reason that the Frati de' Zoccoli, who have their seat in that place, and who have charge of the Church of S. Giobbe in Canareio, caused him to paint in the Chapel of the Foscari, in that Church of S. Giobbe, a Madonna who is seated with the Child in her arms, with a S. Mark on one side and a female Saint on the other, and in the air some Angels who are scattering flowers. In S. Bartolommeo, at the tomb of Cristofano Fuccheri, a German merchant, he executed a picture of Abundance, Mercury, and Fame. For M. Antonio della Vecchia, a Venetian, he painted in a picture with figures of the size of life and very beautiful Christ crowned with Thorns, and about them some Pharisees, who are mocking Him.
Meanwhile there had been built of masonry in the Palace of S. Marco, after the design of Jacopo Sansovino, as will be related in the proper place, the staircase that leads from the first floor upwards, and it had been adorned with various designs in stucco by the sculptor Alessandro, a disciple of Sansovino; and Battista painted very minute grotesques over it all, and in certain larger spaces a good number of figures in fresco, which have been extolled not a little by the craftsmen, and he then [Pg 101] decorated the ceiling of the vestibule of that staircase. Not long afterwards, when, as has been related above, three pictures were given to each of the best and most renowned painters of Venice to paint for the Library of S. Marco, on the condition that he who should acquit himself best in the judgment of those Magnificent Senators was to receive, in addition to the usual payment, a chain of gold, Battista executed in that place three scenes, with two Philosophers between the windows, and acquitted himself very well, although he did not win the prize of honour, as we said above.
After these works, having received from the Patriarch Grimani the commission for a chapel in S. Francesco della Vigna, which is the first on the left hand entering into the church, Battista set his hand to it and began to make very rich designs in stucco over the whole vaulting, with scenes of figures in fresco, labouring there with incredible diligence. But—whether it was his own carelessness, or that he had executed some works, perchance on very fresh walls, as I have heard say, at the villas of certain gentlemen—before he had that chapel finished, he died, and it remained incomplete. It was finished afterwards by Federigo Zucchero of S. Agnolo in Vado, a young and excellent painter, held to be among the best in Rome, who painted in fresco on the walls at the sides Mary Magdalene being converted by the Preaching of Christ and the Raising of her brother Lazarus, which are pictures full of grace. And, when the walls were finished, the same Federigo painted in the altar-piece the Adoration of the Magi, which was much extolled.
Extraordinary credit and fame have come to Battista, who died in the year 1561, from his many printed designs, which are truly worthy to be praised.
In the same city of Venice and about the same time there lived, as he still does, a painter called Jacopo Tintoretto, who has delighted in all the arts, and particularly in playing various musical instruments, besides being agreeable in his every action, but in the matter of painting swift, resolute, fantastic, and extravagant, and the most extraordinary brain that the art of painting has ever produced, as may be seen from all his works and from the fantastic compositions of his scenes, executed [Pg 102] by him in a fashion of his own and contrary to the use of other painters. Indeed, he has surpassed even the limits of extravagance with the new and fanciful inventions and the strange vagaries of his intellect, working at haphazard and without design, as if to prove that art is but a jest. This master at times has left as finished works sketches still so rough that the brush-strokes may be seen, done more by chance and vehemence than with judgment and design. He has painted almost every kind of picture in fresco and in oils, with portraits from life, and at every price, insomuch that with these methods he has executed, as he still does, the greater part of the pictures painted in Venice. And since in his youth he proved himself by many beautiful works a man of great judgment, if only he had recognized how great an advantage he had from nature, and had improved it by reasonable study, as has been done by those who have followed the beautiful manners of his predecessors, and had not dashed his work off by mere skill of hand, he would have been one of the greatest painters that Venice has ever had. Not that this prevents him from being a bold and able painter, and delicate, fanciful, and alert in spirit.
THE LAST JUDGMENT
(After the painting by Jacopo Tintoretto. Venice: S. Maria dell'Orto)
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Now, when it had been ordained by the Senate that Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese, at that time young men of great promise, should each execute a scene in the Hall of the Great Council, and Orazio, the son of Tiziano, another, Tintoretto painted in his scene Frederick Barbarossa being crowned by the Pope, depicting there a most beautiful building, and about the Pontiff a great number of Cardinals and Venetian gentlemen, all portrayed from life, and at the foot the Pope's chapel of music. In all this he acquitted himself in such a manner, that the picture can bear comparison with those of the others, not excepting that of the above-named Orazio, in which is a battle that was fought at Rome between the Germans of that Frederick and the Romans, near the Castello di S. Angelo and the Tiber. In this picture, among other things, is a horse in foreshortening, leaping over a soldier in armour, which is most beautiful; but some declare that Orazio was assisted in the work by his father Tiziano. Beside these Paolo Veronese, of whom there has been an account in the Life of Michele San Michele, painted [Pg 103] in his scene the same Frederick Barbarossa presenting himself at Court and kissing the hand of Pope Ottaviano, to the despite of Pope Alexander III; and, in addition to that scene, which was very beautiful, Paolo painted over a window four large figures: Time, Union, with a bundle of rods, Patience, and Faith, in which he acquitted himself better than I could express in words.
Not long afterwards, another scene being required in that hall, Tintoretto so went to work with the aid of friends and other means, that it was given to him to paint; whereupon he executed it in such a manner that it was a marvel, and that it deserves to be numbered among the best things that he ever did, so powerful in him was his determination that he would equal, if not vanquish and surpass, his rivals who had worked in that place. And the scene that he painted there—to the end that it may be known also by those who are not of the art—was Pope Alexander excommunicating and interdicting Barbarossa, and that Frederick therefore forbidding his subjects to render obedience any longer to the Pontiff. And among other fanciful things that are in this scene, that part is most beautiful in which the Pope and the Cardinals are throwing down torches and candles from a high place, as is done when some person is excommunicated, and below is a rabble of nude figures that are struggling for those torches and candles—the most lovely and pleasing effect in the world. Besides all this, certain bases, antiquities, and portraits of gentlemen that are dispersed throughout the scene, are executed very well, and won him favour and fame with everyone. He therefore painted, for places below the work of Pordenone in the principal chapel of S. Rocco, two pictures in oils as broad as the width of the whole chapel—namely, about twelve braccia each. In one he depicted a view in perspective as of a hospital filled with beds and sick persons in various attitudes who are being healed by S. Rocco; and among these are some nude figures very well conceived, and a dead body in foreshortening that is very beautiful. In the other is a story likewise of S. Rocco, full of most graceful and beautiful figures, and such, in short, that it is held to be one of the best works that this painter has executed. In a scene of the same size, in the centre of the church, he painted Jesus Christ healing [Pg 104] the impotent man at the Pool of Bethesda, which is also a work held to be passing good.
THE MIRACLE OF S. MARK
(From the painting by Jacopo Tintoretto. Venice: Accademia)
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In the Church of S. Maria dell'Orto, where, as has been told above, Cristofano and his brother, painters of Brescia, painted the ceiling, Tintoretto has painted—that is, on canvas and in oils—the two walls of the principal chapel, which are twenty-two braccia in height from the vaulting to the cornice at the foot. In that which is on the right hand he has depicted Moses returning from the Mount, where he had received the Laws from God, and finding the people worshipping the Golden Calf; and opposite to that, in the other, is the Universal Judgment of the last day, painted with an extravagant invention that truly has in it something awesome and terrible, by reason of the diversity of figures of either sex and all ages that are there, with vistas and distant views of the souls of the blessed and the damned. There, also, may be seen the boat of Charon, but in a manner so different from that of others, that it is a thing beautiful and strange. If this fantastic invention had been executed with correct and well-ordered drawing, and if the painter had given diligent attention to the parts and to each particular detail, as he has done to the whole in expressing the confusion, turmoil, and terror of that day, it would have been a most stupendous picture. And whoever glances at it for a moment, is struck with astonishment; but, considering it afterwards minutely, it appears as if painted as a jest. The same master has painted in oils in that church, on the doors of the organ, Our Lady ascending the steps of the Temple, which is a highly-finished work, and the best-executed and most gladsome picture that there is in that place. In S. Maria Zebenigo, likewise on the doors of the organ, he has painted the Conversion of S. Paul, but not with much care. In the Carità is an altar-piece by his hand, of Christ taken down from the Cross; and in the Sacristy of S. Sebastiano, in competition with Paolo Veronese, who executed many pictures on the ceiling and the walls of that place, he painted over the presses Moses in the Desert and other scenes, which were continued afterwards by Natalino, a Venetian painter, and by others. The same Tintoretto then painted for the altar of the Pietà, in S. Giobbe, three Maries, S. Francis, S. Sebastian, [Pg 105] and S. John, with a piece of landscape; and, on the organ-doors in the Church of the Servites, S. Augustine and S. Philip, and beneath them Cain killing his brother Abel. At the altar of the Sacrament in S. Felice, or rather, on the ceiling of the tribune, he painted the four Evangelists; and in the lunette above the altar an Annunciation, in the other lunette Christ praying on the Mount of Olives, and on the wall the Last Supper that He had with His Apostles. And in S. Francesco della Vigna, on the altar of the Deposition from the Cross, there is by the same hand the Madonna in a swoon, with the other Maries and some Prophets.
In the Scuola of S. Marco, near SS. Giovanni e Polo, are four large scenes by his hand. In one of these is S. Mark, who, appearing in the air, is delivering one who is his votary from many torments that may be seen prepared for him with various instruments of torture, which being broken, the executioner was never able to employ them against that devout man; and in that scene is a great abundance of figures, foreshortenings, pieces of armour, buildings, portraits, and other suchlike things, which render the work very ornate. In the second is a tempest of the sea, and S. Mark, likewise in the air, delivering another of his votaries; but that scene is by no means executed with the same diligence as that already described. In the third is a storm of rain, with the dead body of another of S. Mark's votaries, and his soul ascending into Heaven; and there, also, is a composition of passing good figures. In the fourth, wherein an evil spirit is being exorcised, he counterfeited in perspective a great loggia, and at the end of it a fire that illumines it with many reflections. And in addition to those scenes there is on the altar a S. Mark by the same hand, which is a passing good picture.
These works, then, and many others that are here passed over, it being enough to have made mention of the best, have been executed by Tintoretto with such rapidity, that, when it was thought that he had scarcely begun, he had finished. And it is a notable thing that with the most extravagant ways in the world, he has always work to do, for the reason that when his friendships and other means are not enough to obtain for him any particular work, even if he had to do it, I do not say at a low price, but without payment or by force, in one way or another, [Pg 106] do it he would. And it is not long since, Tintoretto having executed the Passion of Christ in a large picture in oils and on canvas for the Scuola of S. Rocco, the men of that Company resolved to have some honourable and magnificent work painted on the ceiling above it, and therefore to allot that commission to that one among the painters that there were in Venice who should make the best and most beautiful design. Having therefore summoned Joseffo Salviati, Federigo Zucchero, who was in Venice at that time, Paolo Veronese, and Jacopo Tintoretto, they ordained that each of them should make a design, promising the work to him who should acquit himself best in this. While the others, then, were engaged with all possible diligence in making their designs, Tintoretto, having taken measurements of the size that the work was to be, sketched a great canvas and painted it with his usual rapidity, without anyone knowing about it, and then placed it where it was to stand. Whereupon, the men of the Company having assembled one morning to see the designs and to make their award, they found that Tintoretto had completely finished the work and had placed it in position. At which being angered against him, they said that they had called for designs and had not commissioned him to execute the work; but he answered them that this was his method of making designs, that he did not know how to proceed in any other manner, and that designs and models of works should always be after that fashion, so as to deceive no one, and that, finally, if they would not pay him for the work and for his labour, he would make them a present of it. And after these words, although he had many contradictions, he so contrived that the work is still in the same place. In this canvas, then, there is painted a Heaven with God the Father descending with many Angels to embrace S. Rocco, and in the lowest part are many figures that signify, or rather, represent the other principal Scuole of Venice, such as the Carità, S. Giovanni Evangelista, the Misericordia, S. Marco, and S. Teodoro, all executed after his usual manner. But since it would be too long a task to enumerate all the pictures of Tintoretto, let it be enough to have spoken of the above-named works of that master, who is a truly able man and a painter worthy to be praised.
THE APOTHEOSIS OF S. ROCCO
(After the painting by Jacopo Tintoretto. Venice: Scuola di S. Rocco)
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[Pg 107] There was in Venice about this same time a painter called Brazzacco, a protégé of the house of Grimani, who had been many years in Rome; and he was commissioned by favour to paint the ceiling in the Great Hall of the Chiefs of the Council of Ten. But this master, knowing that he was not able to do it by himself and that he had need of assistance, took as companions Paolo Veronese and Battista Farinato, dividing between himself and them nine pictures in oils that were destined for that place—namely, four ovals at the corners, four oblong pictures, and a larger oval in the centre. Giving the last-named oval, with three of the oblong pictures, to Paolo Veronese, who painted therein a Jove who is hurling his thunderbolts against the Vices, and other figures, he took for himself two of the smaller ovals, with one of the oblong pictures, and gave two ovals to Battista. In one of these pictures is Neptune, the God of the Sea, and in each of the others two figures demonstrating the greatness and the tranquil and peaceful condition of Venice. Now, although all three of them acquitted themselves well, Paolo Veronese succeeded better than the others, and well deserved, therefore, that those Signori should afterwards allot to him the other ceiling that is beside the above-named hall, wherein he painted in oils, in company with Battista Farinato, a S. Mark supported in the air by some Angels, and lower down a Venice surrounded by Faith, Hope, and Charity; which work, although it was beautiful, was not equal in excellence to the first. Paolo afterwards executed by himself in the Umiltà, in a large oval of the ceiling, an Assumption of Our Lady with other figures, which was a gladsome, beautiful, and well-conceived picture.
Likewise a good painter in our own day, in that city, has been Andrea Schiavone; I say good, because at times, for all his misfortunes, he has produced some good work, and because he has always imitated as well as he has been able the manners of the good masters. But, since the greater part of his works have been pictures that are dispersed among the houses of gentlemen, I shall speak only of some that are in public places. In the Chapel of the family of Pellegrini, in the Church of S. Sebastiano at Venice, he has painted a S. James with two Pilgrims. In the Church of the Carmine, on the ceiling of the choir, he has executed [Pg 108] an Assumption with many Angels and Saints; and in the Chapel of the Presentation, in the same church, he has painted the Infant Christ presented by His Mother in the Temple, with many portraits from life, but the best figure that is there is a woman suckling a child and wearing a yellow garment, who is executed in a certain manner that is used in Venice—dashed off, or rather, sketched, without being in any respect finished. Him Giorgio Vasari caused in the year 1540 to paint on a large canvas in oils the battle that had been fought a short time before between Charles V and Barbarossa; and that work, which is one of the best that Andrea Schiavone ever executed, and truly very beautiful, is now in Florence, in the house of the heirs of the Magnificent M. Ottaviano de' Medici, to whom it was sent as a present by Vasari.
It is in every way a notable thing that all those who were of the school in the garden of the Medici, and were favoured by the Magnificent Lorenzo the Elder, became without exception supremely excellent; which circumstance cannot have come from any other cause but the great, nay, infinite judgment of that most noble lord, the true Mæcenas of men of talent, who, even as he was able to recognize men of lofty spirit and genius, was also both willing and able to recompense and reward them. Thus Giovan Francesco Rustici, a Florentine citizen, acquitting himself very well in drawing and working in clay in his boyhood, was placed by that Magnificent Lorenzo, who recognized him as a boy of spirit and of good and beautiful genius, to learn under Andrea del Verrocchio, with whom there was also working Leonardo da Vinci, a rare youth and gifted with infinite parts. Whereupon Rustici, being pleased by the beautiful manner and ways of Leonardo, and considering that the expressions of his heads and the movements of his figures were more graceful and more spirited than those of any other works that he had ever seen, attached himself to him, after he had learned to cast in bronze, to draw in perspective, and to work in marble, and after Andrea had gone to work in Venice. Rustici thus living with Leonardo and serving him with the most loving submission, Leonardo conceived such an affection for him, recognizing him to be a young man of good, true, and liberal mind, patient and diligent in the labours of art, that he did nothing, either great or small, save what was pleasing to Giovan Francesco, who, besides being of a noble family, had the means to live honourably, and therefore [Pg 112] practised art more for his own delight and from desire of glory than for gain. And, to tell the truth of the matter, those craftsmen who have as their ultimate and principal end gain and profit, and not honour and glory, rarely become very excellent, even although they may have good and beautiful genius; besides which, labouring for a livelihood, as very many do who are weighed down by poverty and their families, and working not by inclination, when the mind and the will are drawn to it, but by necessity from morning till night, is a life not for men who have honour and glory as their aim, but for hacks, as they are called, and manual labourers, for the reason that good works do not get done without first having been well considered for a long time. And it was on that account that Rustici used to say in his more mature years that you must first think, then make your sketches, and after that your designs; which done, you must put them aside for weeks and even months without looking at them, and then, choosing the best, put them into execution; but that method cannot be followed by everyone, nor do those use it who labour only for gain. And he used to say, also, that works should not be shown readily to anyone before they are finished, so that a man may change them as many times and in as many ways as he wishes, without any scruple.
Giovan Francesco learned many things from Leonardo, but particularly how to represent horses, in which he so delighted that he fashioned them of clay and of wax, in the round or in low-relief, and in as many manners as could be imagined; and of these there are some to be seen in our book which are so well drawn, that they bear witness to the knowledge and art of Giovan Francesco. He knew also how to handle colours, and executed some passing good pictures, although his principal profession was sculpture. And since he lived for a time in the Via de' Martelli, he became much the friend of all the men of that family, which has always had men of the highest ability and worth, and particularly of Piero, for whom, being the nearest to his heart, he made some little figures in full-relief, and, among others, a Madonna with the Child in her arms seated upon some clouds that are covered with Cherubim. Similar to that is another that he painted after some time in a large picture in oils, [Pg 113] with a garland of Cherubim that form a diadem around the head of Our Lady.
The Medici family having then returned to Florence, Rustici made himself known to Cardinal Giovanni as the protégé of his father Lorenzo, and was received with much lovingness. But, since the ways of the Court did not please him and were distasteful to his nature, which was altogether simple and peaceful, and not full of envy and ambition, he would always keep to himself and live the life as it were of a philosopher, enjoying tranquil peace and repose. And although he did at times choose to take some recreation, and found himself among his friends in art or some citizens who were his intimate companions, he did not therefore cease to work when the desire came to him or the occasion presented itself. Wherefore, for the visit of Pope Leo to Florence in the year 1515, at the request of Andrea del Sarto, who was much his friend, he executed some statues that were held to be very beautiful; which statues, since they pleased Cardinal Giulio de' Medici, were the reason that the Cardinal caused him to make, for the summit of the fountain that is in the great court of the Palace of the Medici, the nude Mercury of bronze about one braccio in height, standing on a ball in the act of taking flight. In the hands of that figure Rustici placed an instrument that is made to revolve by the water that it pours down from above, in the following manner: one leg being perforated, a pipe passes through it and through the torso, and the water, having risen to the mouth of the figure, falls upon that instrument, which is balanced with four thin plates fixed after the manner of a butterfly, and causes it to revolve. That figure, I say, for a small work, was much extolled. Not long afterwards, Giovan Francesco made for the same Cardinal the model for a David to be cast in bronze (similar to that executed by Donato, as has been related, for the elder Cosimo, the Magnificent), for placing in the first court, whence the other had been taken away. That model gave much satisfaction, but, by reason of a certain dilatoriness in Giovan Francesco, it was never cast in bronze; wherefore the Orpheus in marble of Bandinelli was placed there, and the David of clay made by Rustici, which was a very rare work, came to an evil end, which was a very great loss. Giovan Francesco made an [Pg 114] Annunciation in half-relief in a large medallion, with a most beautiful perspective-view, in which he was assisted by the painter Raffaello Bello and by Niccolò Soggi. This, when cast in bronze, proved to be a work of such rare beauty, that there was nothing more beautiful to be seen; and it was sent to the King of Spain. And then he executed in marble, in another similar medallion, a Madonna with the Child in her arms and S. John the Baptist as a little boy, which was placed in the first hall in the residence of the Consuls of the Guild of Por Santa Maria.
By these works Giovan Francesco came into great credit, and the Consuls of the Guild of Merchants, who had caused to be removed certain clumsy figures of marble that were over the three doors of the Temple of S. Giovanni (made, as has been related, in the year 1240), after allotting to Contucci of Sansovino those that were to be set up in place of the old ones over the door that faces towards the Misericordia, allotted to Rustici those that were to be placed over the door that faces towards the canonical buildings of that temple, on the condition that he should make three figures of bronze of four braccia each, representing the same persons as the old ones—namely, S. John in the act of preaching, standing between a Pharisee and a Levite. That work was much after the heart of Giovan Francesco, because it was to be set up in a place so celebrated and of such importance, and, besides this, by reason of the competition with Andrea Contucci. Having therefore straightway set his hand to it and made a little model, which he surpassed in the excellence of the work itself, he showed all the consideration and diligence that such a labour required. When finished, the work was held to be in all its parts the best composed and best conceived of its kind that had been made up to that time, the figures being wholly perfect and wrought with great grace of aspect and also extraordinary force. In like manner, the nude arms and legs are very well conceived, and attached at the joints so excellently, that it would not be possible to do better; and, to say nothing of the hands and feet, what graceful attitudes and what heroic gravity have those heads!
S. JOHN PREACHING
(After the bronze by Giovan Francesco Rustici. Florence: The Baptistery)
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Giovan Francesco, while he was fashioning that work in clay, would have no one about him but Leonardo da Vinci, who, during the making of the moulds, the securing them with irons, and, in short, until the [Pg 115] statues were cast, never left his side; wherefore some believe, but without knowing more than this, that Leonardo worked at them with his own hand, or at least assisted Giovan Francesco with his advice and good judgment. These statues, which are the most perfect and the best conceived that have ever been executed in bronze by a modern master, were cast in three parts and polished in the above-mentioned house in the Via de' Martelli where Giovan Francesco lived; and so, also, the ornaments of marble that are about the S. John, with the two columns, the mouldings, and the emblem of the Guild of Merchants. In addition to the S. John, which is a spirited and lively figure, there is a bald man inclined to fatness, beautifully wrought, who, having rested the right arm on one flank, with part of a shoulder naked, and with the left hand holding a scroll before his eyes, has the left leg crossed over the right, and stands in an attitude of deep contemplation, about to answer S. John; and he is clothed in two kinds of drapery, one delicate, which floats over the nude parts of the figure, and over that a mantle of thicker texture, executed with a flow of folds full of mastery and artistry. Equal to him is the Pharisee, who, having laid his right hand on his beard, with a grave gesture, is drawing back a little, revealing astonishment at the words of John.
While Rustici was executing that work, growing weary at last of having to ask for money every day from those Consuls or their agents, who were not always the same (and such persons are generally men who hold art or any work of value in little account), he sold, in order to be able to finish the work, a farm out of his patrimony that he possessed at San Marco Vecchio, at a short distance from Florence. And yet, notwithstanding such labours, expenses, and pains, he was poorly remunerated for it by the Consuls and by his fellow-citizens, for the reason that one of the Ridolfi, the head of that Guild, out of some private spite, and perchance also because Rustici had not paid him enough honour or allowed him to see the figures at his convenience, was always opposed to him in everything. And so that which should have resulted in honour for Giovan Francesco did the very opposite, for, whereas he deserved to be esteemed not only as a nobleman and a citizen but also as a master of [Pg 116] art, his being a most excellent craftsman robbed him, with the ignorant and foolish, of all that was due to his noble blood. Thus, when Giovan Francesco's work was to be valued, and he had chosen on his side Michelagnolo Buonarroti, the body of Consuls, at the persuasion of Ridolfi, chose Baccio d'Agnolo; at which Rustici complained, saying to the men of that body, at the audience, that it was indeed something too strange that a worker in wood should have to value the labours of a statuary, and he as good as declared that they were a herd of oxen, but Ridolfi answered that, on the contrary, it was a good choice, and that Giovan Francesco was a swollen bladder of pride and arrogance. And, what was worse, that work, which deserved not less than two thousand crowns, was valued by the Consuls at five hundred, and even those were not paid to him in full, but only four hundred, and that only with the help of Cardinal Giulio de' Medici.
Having met with such malignity, Giovan Francesco withdrew almost in despair, determined that he would never again do work for public bodies, or in any undertaking where he might have to depend on more than one citizen or any other single person. And so, keeping to himself and leading a solitary life in his rooms at the Sapienza, near the Servite Friars, he continued to work at various things, in order to pass the time and not to live in idleness; but also consuming his life and his money in seeking to congeal mercury, in company with a man of like brain called Raffaello Baglioni. Giovan Francesco painted a picture in oils three braccia in breadth and two in height, of the Conversion of S. Paul, full of different kinds of horses ridden by the soldiers of that Saint, with various beautiful attitudes and foreshortenings; which painting, together with many other works by the hand of the same master, is in the possession of the heirs of the above-named Piero Martelli, to whom he gave it. In a little picture he painted a hunting-scene full of various animals, which is a very bizarre and pleasing work; and it now belongs to Lorenzo Borghini, who holds it dear, as one who much delights in the treasures of our arts. For the Nuns of S. Luca, in the Via di S. Gallo, he executed in clay, in half-relief, a Christ in the Garden who is appearing to Mary Magdalene, which was afterwards glazed by Giovanni della Robbia and [Pg 117] placed on an altar in the church of those sisters, within an ornament of grey sandstone. For Jacopo Salviati the elder, of whom he was much the friend, he made a most beautiful medallion of marble, containing a Madonna, for the chapel in his palace above the Ponte alla Badia, and, round the courtyard, many medallions filled with figures of terra-cotta, together with other very beautiful ornaments, which were for the most part, nay, almost all, destroyed by the soldiers in the year of the siege, when the palace was set on fire by the party hostile to the Medici. And since Giovan Francesco had a great affection for that place, he would set out at times from Florence to go there just as he was, in his lucco; and once out of the city he would throw it over his shoulder and slowly wander all by himself, lost in contemplation, until he was there. One day among others, being on that road, and the day being hot, he hid the lucco in a thicket of thorn-bushes, and, having reached the palace, had been there two days before he remembered it. In the end, sending his man to look for it, when he saw that he had found it he said: "The world is too good to last long."
Giovan Francesco was a man of surpassing goodness, and very loving to the poor, insomuch that he would never let anyone leave him uncomforted; nay, keeping his money, whether he had much or little, in a basket, he would give some according to his ability to anyone who asked of him. Wherefore a poor man who often went to him for alms, seeing him go always to that basket, said, not thinking that he could be heard: "Ah! God! if I had in my own room all that is in that basket, I would soon settle all my troubles." Giovan Francesco, hearing him, said, after gazing at him fixedly a while: "Come here, I will satisfy you." And then, emptying the basket into a fold of his cloak, he said to him: "Go, and may God bless you." And shortly afterwards he sent to Niccolò Buoni, his dearest friend, who managed all his affairs, for more money; which Niccolò, who kept an account of his crops and of his money in the Monte, and sold his produce at the proper seasons, made a practice, according to Rustici's own wish, of giving him so much money every week, which Giovan Francesco then kept in the drawer of his desk, without [Pg 118] a key, and from time to time anyone who wished would take some to spend on the requirements of the household, according as might be necessary.
But to return to his works: Giovan Francesco made a most beautiful Crucifix of wood, as large as life, for sending to France, but it was left with Niccolò Buoni, together with other things in low-relief and drawings, which are now in his possession, at the time when Rustici resolved to leave Florence, believing that it was no place for him and thinking by a change of country to obtain a change of fortune. For Duke Giuliano, by whom he was always much favoured, he made a profile of his head in half-relief, and cast it in bronze; and this, which was held to be a remarkable work, is now in the house of M. Alessandro, the son of M. Ottaviano de' Medici. To the painter Ruberto di Filippo Lippi, who was his disciple, Giovan Francesco gave many works by his own hand, such as low-reliefs, models, and designs; and, among other things, several pictures—a Leda, a Europa, a Neptune, a very beautiful Vulcan, and another little panel in low-relief wherein is a nude man on horseback of great beauty, which panel is now in the study of Don Silvano Razzi, at the Angeli. The same Giovan Francesco made a very beautiful woman in bronze, two braccia in height, representing one of the Graces, who was pressing one of her breasts; but it is not known what became of it, nor in whose possession it is to be found. Of his horses in clay with men on their backs or under them, similar to those already mentioned, there are many in the houses of citizens, which were presented by him to his various friends, for he was very courteous, and not, like most men of his class, mean and discourteous. And Dionigi da Diacceto, an excellent and honourable gentleman, who also kept the accounts of Giovan Francesco, like Niccolò Buoni, and was his friend, had from him many low-reliefs.
There never was a man more amusing or fanciful than Giovan Francesco, nor one that delighted more in animals. He had made a porcupine so tame, that it stayed under the table like a dog, and at times it rubbed against people's legs in such a manner, that they drew them in very quickly. He had an eagle, and also a raven that said a great number of things so clearly, that it was just like a human being. He [Pg 119] also gave his attention to the study of necromancy, and by means of that I am told that he gave strange frights to his servants and assistants; and thus he lived without a care. Having built a room almost in the manner of a fish-pond, and keeping in it many serpents, or rather, grass-snakes, which could not escape, he used to take the greatest pleasure in standing, particularly in summer, to observe the mad pranks that they played, and their fury.
There used to assemble in his rooms at the Sapienza a company of good fellows who called themselves the Company of the Paiuolo; and these, whose numbers were limited to twelve, were our Giovan Francesco, Andrea del Sarto, the painter Spillo, Domenico Puligo, the goldsmith Robetta, Aristotile da San Gallo, Francesco di Pellegrino, Niccolò Buoni, Domenico Baccelli, who played and sang divinely, the sculptor Solosmeo, Lorenzo called Guazzetto, and the painter Ruberto di Filippo Lippi, who was their proveditor. Each of these twelve could bring to certain suppers and entertainments of theirs four friends and no more. The manner of the suppers, which I am very willing to describe because these companies have fallen almost entirely out of fashion, was that each man should bring some dish for supper, prepared with some beautiful invention, which, on arriving at the proper place, he presented to the master of the feast, who was always one of their number, and who then gave it to whomsoever he pleased, each man thus exchanging his dish for that of another. When they were at table, they all offered each other something from their dishes, and every man partook of everything; and whoever had hit on the same invention for his dish as another, and had produced the same thing, was condemned to pay a penalty.
One evening, then, when Giovan Francesco gave a supper to that Company of the Paiuolo, he arranged that there should serve as a table an immense cauldron made with a vat, within which they all sat, and it appeared as if they were in the water of the cauldron, in the centre of which came the viands arranged in a circle; and the handle of the cauldron, which curved like a crescent above them, gave out a most beautiful light from the centre, so that, looking round, they all saw each other face to [Pg 120] face. Now, when they were all seated at table in the cauldron, which was most beautifully contrived, there issued from the centre a tree with many branches, which set before them the supper, that is, the first course of viands, two to each plate. This done, it descended once more below, where there were persons who played music, and in a short time came up again and presented the second course, and then the third, and so on in due order, while all around were servants who poured out the choicest wines. The invention of the cauldron, which was beautifully adorned with hangings and pictures, was much extolled by the men of that company. For that evening the contribution of Rustici was a cauldron in the form of a pie, in which was Ulysses dipping his father in order to make him young again; which two figures were boiled capons that had the form of men, so well were the limbs arranged, and all with various things good to eat. Andrea del Sarto presented an octagonal temple, similar to that of S. Giovanni, but raised upon columns. The pavement was a vast plate of jelly, with a pattern of mosaic in various colours; the columns, which had the appearance of porphyry, were sausages, long and thick; the socles and capitals were of Parmesan cheese; the cornices of sugar, and the tribune was made of sections of marchpane. In the centre was a choir-desk made of cold veal, with a book of lasagne that had the letters and notes of the music made of pepper-corns; and the singers at the desk were cooked thrushes standing with their beaks open, and with certain little shirts after the manner of surplices, made of fine cauls of pigs, and behind them, for the basses, were two fat young pigeons, with six ortolans that sang the soprano. Spillo presented as his dish a smith, which he had made from a great goose or some such bird, with all the instruments wherewith to mend the cauldron in case of need. Domenico Puligo represented by means of a cooked sucking-pig a serving-girl with a distaff at her side, who was watching a brood of chickens, and was there to scour the cauldron. Robetta made out of a calf's head, with appurtenances formed of other fat meats, an anvil for the maintenance of the cauldron, which was very fine and very beautiful, as were also all the other contributions; not to [Pg 121] enumerate one by one all the dishes of that supper and of many others that they gave.
The Company of the Cazzuola, which was similar to the other, and to which Giovan Francesco belonged, had its origin in the following manner. One evening in the year 1512 there were at supper in the garden that Feo d'Agnolo the hunchback, a fife-player and a very merry fellow, had in the Campaccio, with Feo himself, Ser Bastiano Sagginati, Ser Raffaello del Beccaio, Ser Cecchino de' Profumi, Girolamo del Giocondo, and Il Baia, and, while they were eating their ricotta, the eyes of Baia fell on a heap of lime with the trowel sticking in it, just as the mason had left it the day before, by the side of the table in a corner of the garden. Whereupon, taking some of the lime with that trowel, or rather, mason's trowel, he dropped it all into the mouth of Feo, who was waiting with gaping jaws for a great mouthful of ricotta from another of the company. Which seeing, they all began to shout: "A Trowel, a Trowel!" That Company being then formed by reason of that incident, it was ordained that its members should be in all twenty-four, twelve of those who, as the phrase was in those times, were "going for the Great," and twelve of those who were "going for the Less"; and that its emblem should be a trowel, to which they added afterwards those little black tadpoles that have a large head and a tail, which are called in Tuscany Cazzuole. Their Patron Saint was S. Andrew, whose festal day they used to celebrate with much solemnity, giving a most beautiful supper and banquet according to their rules. The first members of that Company, those "going for the Great," were Jacopo Bottegai, Francesco Rucellai, Domenico his brother, Giovan Battista Ginori, Girolamo del Giocondo, Giovanni Miniati, Niccolò del Barbigia, Mezzabotte his brother, Cosimo da Panzano, Matteo his brother, Marco Jacopi, and Pieraccino Bartoli; and those "going for the Less," Ser Bastiano Sagginati, Ser Raffaello del Beccaio, Ser Cecchino de' Profumi, Giuliano Bugiardini the painter, Francesco Granacci the painter, Giovan Francesco Rustici, Feo the [Pg 122] hunchback, his companion Il Talina the musician, Pierino the fifer, Giovanni the trombone-player, and Il Baia the bombardier. The associates were Bernardino di Giordano, Il Talano, Il Caiano, Maestro Jacopo del Bientina and M. Giovan Battista di Cristofano Ottonaio, both heralds of the Signoria, Buon Pocci, and Domenico Barlacchi. And not many years passed (so much did they increase in reputation as they held their feasts and merrymakings), before there were elected to that Company of the Cazzuola Signor Giuliano de' Medici, Ottangolo Benvenuti, Giovanni Canigiani, Giovanni Serristori, Giovanni Gaddi, Giovanni Bandini, Luigi Martelli, Paolo da Romena, and Filippo Pandolfini the hunchback; and together with these, at one and the same time, as associates, Andrea del Sarto the painter, Bartolommeo Trombone the musician, Ser Bernardo Pisanello, Piero the cloth-shearer, Gemma the mercer, and lastly Maestro Manente da San Giovanni the physician.
The feasts that these men held at various times were innumerable, and I shall describe only a few of them for the sake of those who do not know the customs of these Companies, which, as has been related, have now fallen almost entirely out of fashion. The first given by the Cazzuola, which was arranged by Giuliano Bugiardini, was held at a place called the Aia, at S. Maria Nuova, where, as we have already said, the gates of S. Giovanni were cast in bronze. There, I say, the master of the Company having commanded that every man should present himself dressed in whatever costume he pleased, on condition that those who might resemble one another in their manner of dress by being clothed in the same fashion, should pay a penalty, at the appointed hour there appeared the most beautiful, bizarre, and extravagant costumes that could be imagined. Then, the hour of supper having come, they were placed at table according to the quality of their clothes—those who were dressed as Princes in the first places, the rich and noble after them, and those dressed as poor persons in the last and lowest places. And whether they had games and merrymaking after supper, it is better to leave that to everyone to imagine for himself than to say anything about it.
[Pg 123] At another repast, which was arranged by the same Bugiardini and by Giovan Francesco Rustici, the men of the Company appeared, as the master had commanded, all in the dress of masons and their labourers; that is, those who were "going for the Great" had the trowel with the cutting edge and hammer in their girdles, and those "going for the Less" were dressed as labourers with the hod, the levers for moving weights, and in their girdles the ordinary trowel. When all had arrived in the first room, the lord of the feast showed them the ground-plan of an edifice that had to be built by the company, and placed the master-masons at table around it; and then the labourers began to carry up the materials for making the foundations—hods full of cooked lasagne and ricotta prepared with sugar for mortar, sand made of cheese, spices, and pepper mixed together, and for gravel large sweetmeats and pieces of berlingozzo. The wall-bricks, paving-bricks, and tiles, which were brought in baskets and hand-barrows, were loaves of bread and flat cakes. A basement having then come up, it appeared to the stone-cutters that it had not been executed and put together well enough, and they judged that it would be a good thing to break it and take it to pieces; whereupon, having set upon it and found it all composed of pastry, pieces of liver, and other suchlike things, they feasted on these, which were placed before them by the labourers. Next, the same labourers having come on the scene with a great column swathed with the cooked tripe of calves, it was taken to pieces, and after distributing the boiled veal, capons, and other things of which it was composed, they eat the base of Parmesan cheese and the capital, which was made in a marvellous manner of pieces carved from roasted capons and slices of veal, with a crown of tongues. But why do I dally over describing all the details? After the column, there was brought up on a car a very ingenious piece of architrave with frieze and cornice, composed in like manner so well and of so many different viands, that to attempt to describe them all would make too long a story. Enough that when the time came to break up, after many peals of thunder an artificial rain began to fall, and all left the work and fled, each one going to his own house.
[Pg 124] Another time, when the master of the same Company was Matteo da Panzano, the banquet was arranged in the following manner. Ceres, seeking Proserpine her daughter, who had been carried off by Pluto, entered the room where the men of the Cazzuola were assembled, and, coming before their master, besought him that they should accompany her to the infernal regions. To which request consenting after much discussion, they went after her, and so, entering into a somewhat darkened room, they saw in place of a door a vast mouth of a serpent, the head of which took up the whole wall. Round which door all crowding together, while Cerberus barked, Ceres called out asking whether her lost daughter were in there, and, a voice having answered Yes, she added that she desired to have her back. But Pluto replied that he would not give her up, and invited Ceres with all the company to the nuptials that were being prepared; and the invitation was accepted. Whereupon, all having entered through that mouth, which was full of teeth, and which, being hung on hinges, opened to each couple of men that entered, and then shut again, they found themselves at last in a great room of a round shape, which had no light but a very little one in the centre, which burned so dim that they could scarcely see one another. There, having been pushed into their seats with a great fork by a most hideous Devil who was in the middle, beside the tables, which were draped in black, Pluto commanded that in honour of his nuptials the pains of Hell should cease for as long as those guests remained there; and so it was done. Now in that room were painted all the chasms of the regions of the damned, with their pains and torments; and, fire being put to a match of tow, in a flash a light was kindled at each chasm, thus revealing in the picture in what manner and with what pains those who were in it were tormented. The viands of that infernal supper were all animals vile and most hideous in appearance; but nevertheless within, under the loathly covering and the shape of the pastry, were most delicate meats of many kinds. The skin, I say, on the outer side, made it appear as if they were serpents, grass-snakes, lizards large and small, tarantulas, toads, frogs, scorpions, bats, and other suchlike animals; but within all were composed of the choicest viands. And these were placed on the tables before every man [Pg 125] with a shovel, under the direction of the Devil, who was in the middle, while a companion poured out exquisite wines from a horn of glass, ugly and monstrous in shape, into glazed crucibles, which served as drinking-glasses. These first viands finished, which formed a sort of relish, dead men's bones were set all the way down the table in place of fruits and sweetmeats, as if the supper, which was scarcely begun, were finished; which reliquary fruits were of sugar. That done, Pluto, who proclaimed that he wished to go to his repose with his Proserpine, commanded that the pains should return to torment the damned; and in a moment all the lights that have been mentioned were blown out by a sort of wind, on every side were heard rumblings, voices, and cries, awesome and horrible, and in the middle of that darkness, with a little light, was seen the image of Baia the bombardier, who was one of the guests, as has been related—condemned to Hell by Pluto for having always chosen as the subjects and inventions of his girandole and other fireworks the seven mortal sins and the things of Hell. While all were occupied in gazing on that spectacle and listening to various sounds of lamentation, the mournful and funereal table was taken away, and in place of it, lights being kindled, was seen a very rich and regal feast, with splendid servants who brought the rest of the supper, which was handsome and magnificent. At the end of the supper came a ship full of various confections, and the crew of the ship, pretending to remove their merchandize, little by little brought the men of the Company into the upper rooms, where, a very rich scenic setting having been already prepared, there was performed a comedy called the Filogenia, which was much extolled; and at dawn, the play finished, every man went happily home.
Two years afterwards, it being the turn of the same man, after many feasts and comedies, to be master of the Company another time, he, in order to reprove some of that Company who had spent too much on certain feasts and banquets (only, as the saying goes, to be themselves eaten alive), had his banquet arranged in the following manner. At the Aia, where they were wont to assemble, there were first painted on the wall without the door some of those figures that are generally painted on the walls and porticoes of hospitals, such as the director of the hospital, with [Pg 126] gestures full of charity, inviting and receiving beggars and pilgrims. This picture being uncovered late on the evening of the feast, there began to arrive the men of the Company, who, after knocking and being received at the entrance by the director of the hospital, made their way into a great room arranged in the manner of a hospital, with the beds at the sides and other suchlike things. In the middle of that room, round a great fire, were Bientina, Battista dell'Ottonaio, Barlacchi, Baia, and other merry spirits, dressed after the manner of beggars, wastrels, and gallows-birds, who, pretending not to be seen by those who came in from time to time and gathered into a circle, and conversing of the men of the Company and also of themselves, said the hardest things in the world about those who had thrown away their all and spent on suppers and feasts much more than was right. Which discourse finished, when it was seen that all who were to be there had arrived, in came S. Andrew, their Patron Saint, who, leading them out of the hospital, took them into another room, magnificently furnished, where they sat down to table and had a joyous supper. Then the Saint laughingly commanded them that, in order not to be too wasteful with their superfluous expenses, so that they might keep well away from hospitals, they should be contented with one feast, a grand and solemn affair, every year; after which he went his way. And they obeyed him, holding a most beautiful supper, with a comedy, every year over a long period of time; and thus there were performed at various times, as was related in the Life of Aristotile da San Gallo, the Calandra of M. Bernardo, Cardinal of Bibbiena, the Suppositi and the Cassaria of Ariosto, and the Clizia and Mandragola of Macchiavelli, with many others.
Francesco and Domenico Rucellai, for the feast that it fell to them to give when they were masters of the Company, performed first the Arpie of Fineo, and the second time, after a disputation of philosophers on the Trinity, they caused to be represented S. Andrew throwing open a Heaven with all the choirs of the Angels, which was in truth a very rare spectacle. And Giovanni Gaddi, with the help of Jacopo Sansovino, Andrea del Sarto, and Giovan Francesco Rustici, represented a Tantalus in Hell, who gave a feast to all the men of the Company clothed in the [Pg 127] dress of various Gods; with all the rest of the fable, and many fanciful inventions of gardens, scenes of Paradise, fireworks, and other things, to recount which would make our story too long. A very beautiful invention, also, was that of Luigi Martelli, when, being master of the Company, he gave them supper in the house of Giuliano Scali at the Porta Pinti; for he represented Mars all smeared with blood, to signify his cruelty, in a room full of bloody human limbs; in another room he showed Mars and Venus naked in a bed, and a little farther on Vulcan, who, having covered them with the net, was calling all the Gods to see the outrage done to him by Mars and by his sorry spouse.
But it is now time—after this digression, which may perchance appear to some too long, although for many reasons it does not seem to me that this account has been given wholly out of place—that I return to the Life of Rustici. Giovan Francesco, then, not liking much to live in Florence after the expulsion of the Medici in the year 1528, left the charge of all his affairs to Niccolò Buoni, and went off with his young man Lorenzo Naldini, called Guazzetto, to France, where, having been made known to King Francis by Giovan Battista della Palla, who happened to be there then, and by Francesco di Pellegrino, his very dear friend, who had gone there a short time before, he was received very willingly, and an allowance of five hundred crowns a year was granted to him. By that King, for whom Giovan Francesco executed some works of which nothing in particular is known, he was finally commissioned to make a horse in bronze, twice the size of life, upon which was to be placed the King himself. Whereupon, having set his hand to the work, after some models which much pleased the King, he went on with the making of the large model and the mould for casting it, in a large palace given to him for his enjoyment by the King. But, whatever may have been the reason, the King died before the work was finished; and since at the beginning of Henry's reign many persons had their allowances taken away and the expenses of the Court were cut down, it is said that Giovan Francesco, now old and not very prosperous, had nothing to live upon save the profit that he made by letting the great palace and dwelling that he had received for his own enjoyment from the liberality of King Francis. [Pg 128] And Fortune, not content with all that the poor man had endured up to that time, gave him, in addition to all the rest, another very great shock, in that King Henry presented that palace to Signor Piero Strozzi; and Giovan Francesco would have found himself in very dire straits, if the goodness of that lord, to whom the misfortunes of Rustici were a great grief (the latter having made himself known to him), had not brought him timely aid in the hour of his greatest need. For Signor Piero, sending him to an abbey or some other place, whatever it may have been, belonging to his brother, not only succoured Giovan Francesco in his needy old age, but even had him attended and cared for, according as his great worth deserved, until the end of his life. Giovan Francesco died at the age of eighty, and his possessions fell for the most part to the above-named Signor Piero Strozzi. I must not omit to tell that it has come to my ears that while Antonio Mini, a disciple of Buonarroti, was living in France, when he was entertained and treated with much lovingness in Paris by Giovan Francesco, there came into the hands of Rustici some cartoons, designs, and models by the hand of Michelagnolo; a part of which the sculptor Benvenuto Cellini received when he was in France, and he brought them to Florence.
Giovan Francesco, as has been said, was not only without an equal in the work of casting, but also exemplary in conduct, of supreme goodness, and a great lover of the poor. Wherefore it is no marvel that he was assisted most liberally in the hour of his need by the above-mentioned Signor Piero with money and every other thing, for it is true beyond all other truths that even in this life the good works that we do to our neighbours for the love of God are repaid a thousand-fold. Rustici drew very well, as may be seen, besides our own book, from the book of drawings of the very reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini.
The above-mentioned Lorenzo Naldini, called Guazzetto, the disciple of Rustici, has executed many works of sculpture excellently well in France, but of these I have not been able to learn any particulars, any more than of those of his master, who, it may well be believed, did not stay all those years in France as good as idle, nor always occupied with that horse of his. That Lorenzo possessed some houses beyond the Porta a [Pg 129] San Gallo, in the suburbs that were destroyed on account of the siege of Florence, which houses were thrown to the ground together with the rest by the people. That circumstance so grieved him, that, returning in the year 1540 to revisit his country, when he was within a quarter of a mile of Florence he put the hood of his cloak over his head, covering his eyes, in order that, in entering by that gate, he might not see the suburb and his own houses all pulled down. Wherefore the guards at the gate, seeing him thus muffled up, asked him what that meant, and, having heard from him why he had so covered his face, they laughed at him. Lorenzo, after being a few months in Florence, returned to France, taking his mother with him; and there he still lives and labours.
To one Michele d'Agnolo of Poggibonzi, in the village of Montorsoli, which is three miles distant from Florence on the road to Bologna, where he had a good farm of some size, there was born a male child, to whom he gave the name of his father, Agnolo. That child, growing up, and having an inclination for design, as could be readily seen, was placed by his father, according to the advice of friends, to learn stone-cutting under some masters who worked at the quarries of Fiesole, almost opposite to Montorsoli. Agnolo continuing to ply the chisel with those masters, in company with Francesco del Tadda, who was then a lad, and with others, not many months had passed before he knew very well how to handle the tools and to execute many kinds of work in that profession. Having then contracted a friendship by means of Francesco del Tadda with Maestro Andrea, a sculptor of Fiesole, the genius of the child so pleased that master, that he conceived an affection for him, and began to teach him; and thus he kept him in his workshop for three years. After which time, his father Michele being dead, Agnolo went off in company with other young stone-cutters to Rome, where, having been set to work on the building of S. Pietro, he carved some of those rosettes that are in the great cornices which encircle the interior of that temple, with much profit to himself and a good salary. Having then departed from Rome, I know not why, he placed himself in Perugia with a master stone-cutter, who at the end of a year left him in charge of all his works. But, recognizing that to stay at Perugia was not the life for him, and that he was not learning, he went off, when the opportunity to depart presented itself, to work on the tomb of M. Raffaello Maffei, called Il [Pg 134] Volterrano, at Volterra; and in that work, which was being made in marble, he carved some things which showed that his genius was destined some day to achieve a good result. Which labour finished, hearing that Michelagnolo Buonarroti was setting to work at that time on the buildings of the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo the best carvers and stone-cutters that could be found, he went off to Florence; where, having been likewise set to work, among the first things that he did were some ornaments from which Michelagnolo recognized that he was a young man of most beautiful and resolute genius, and that, moreover, he could do more in one day by himself alone than the oldest and best practised masters could do in two. Wherefore he caused to be given to him, boy as he was, the same salary as the older men were drawing.
These buildings being then suspended in the year 1527 on account of the plague and for other reasons, Agnolo, not knowing what else to do, went to Poggibonzi, from which place his father and grandfather had their origin; and there he remained for a time with M. Giovanni Norchiati, his uncle, a pious and well-lettered man, doing nothing but draw and study. But in the end, seeing the world turned topsy-turvy, a desire came to him to become a monk, and to give his attention in peace to the salvation of his soul, and he went to the Hermitage of Camaldoli. There, making trial of that life, and not being able to endure the discomforts, fastings, and abstinences, he did not stay long; but nevertheless, during the time that he was there, he became very dear to those Fathers, for he was of an excellent disposition. And during that time his diversion was to carve heads of men and of various animals, with beautiful and fanciful inventions, on the ends of the staves, or rather, sticks, that those holy Fathers carry when they go from Camaldoli to the Hermitage or for recreation into the forest, at which time they have a dispensation from silence. Having departed from the Hermitage with the leave and good-will of the Principal, he went off to La Vernia, as one who was drawn at all costs to become a monk, and stayed there awhile, frequenting the choir and mixing with those Fathers; but that life, also, did not please him, and, after having received information about the life in many religious houses of Florence and Arezzo, he left La Vernia and [Pg 135] went to those places. And finally, not being able to settle in any other in such a manner as to have facilities for attending both to drawing and to the salvation of his soul, he became a friar in the Ingesuati at Florence, without the Porta a Pinti, and was received by them very willingly; for they gave their attention to making windows of glass, and they hoped that he would be of great assistance and advantage to them in that work. Now those Fathers, according to the custom of their life and rule, do not say Mass, and keep for that purpose a priest to say Mass every morning; and they had at that time as their chaplain a certain Fra Martino of the Servite Order, a person of passing good judgment and character. That Fra Martino, having recognized the young man's genius, reflected that he was little able to exercise it among those Fathers, who do nothing but say Paternosters, make windows of glass, distil waters, and lay out gardens, with other suchlike pursuits, and do not study or give their attention to letters; and he contrived to say and do so much that the young man, going forth from the Ingesuati, assumed the habit among the Servite Friars of the Nunziata in Florence on the seventh day of October in the year 1530, receiving the name of Fra Giovanni Agnolo. In the next year, 1531, having learned in the meanwhile the ceremonies and offices of that Order, and studied the works of Andrea del Sarto that are in that place, he made what they call his profession; and in the year following, to the full satisfaction of those Fathers and the contentment of his relatives, he chanted his first Mass with much pomp and honour. Then, the images in wax of Leo, Clement, and others of that most noble family, which had been placed there as votive offerings, having been destroyed during the expulsion of the Medici by some young men who were rather mad than valorous, the friars determined that these should be made again, and Fra Giovanni Agnolo, with the help of some of those men who gave their attention to the work of fashioning such images, restored some that were old and consumed by time, and made anew those of Pope Leo and Pope Clement, which are still to be seen there, and a short time afterwards those of the King of Bosnia and of the old Lord of Piombino. And in these works Fra Giovanni Agnolo made no little proficience.
Meanwhile, Michelagnolo being in Rome with Pope Clement, who [Pg 136] desired that the work of S. Lorenzo should be continued, and had therefore had him summoned, his Holiness asked him to find a young man who might restore some ancient statues in the Belvedere, which were broken. Whereupon Buonarroti, remembering Fra Giovanni Agnolo, proposed him to the Pope, and his Holiness demanded him in a brief from the General of the Servite Order, who gave him up because he could not do otherwise, and very unwillingly. Arriving in Rome, then, the friar, labouring in the rooms of the Belvedere that were given to him by the Pope to live and work in, restored the left arm that was wanting to the Apollo and the right arm of the Laocoon, which statues are in that place, and likewise gave directions for restoring the Hercules. And, since the Pope went almost every morning to the Belvedere for recreation and to say the office, the friar made his portrait in marble, and that so well that the work brought him much praise, and the Pope conceived a very great affection for him, particularly because he saw him to be very studious of the matters of art, and heard that he used to draw all night in order to have new things every morning to show to the Pope, who much delighted in them. During that time, a canonicate having fallen vacant at S. Lorenzo, a church in Florence built and endowed by the House of Medici, Fra Giovanni Agnolo, who by that time had laid aside the friar's habit, obtained it for M. Giovanni Norchiati, his uncle, who was chaplain in the above-named church.
(After the marble by Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli. Florence: S. Lorenzo, Medici Chapel)
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Finally, Pope Clement, having determined that Buonarroti should return to Florence to finish the works of the sacristy and library of S. Lorenzo, gave him orders, since many statues were wanting there, as will be told in the Life of Michelagnolo himself, that he should avail himself of the most able men that could be found, and particularly of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, employing the same methods as had been adopted by Antonio da San Gallo in order to finish the works of the Madonna di Loreto. Having therefore made his way with the Frate to Florence, Michelagnolo, in executing the statues of Duke Lorenzo and Duke Giuliano, employed the Frate much in polishing them and in executing certain difficult undercuttings; with which occasion Fra Giovanni Agnolo learned many things from that truly divine man, standing with attention [Pg 137] to watch him at work, and observing every least thing. Now among other statues that were wanting to the completion of that work, there were lacking a S. Cosimo and a S. Damiano that were to be one on either side of the Madonna, and Michelagnolo gave the S. Damiano to Raffaello da Montelupo to execute, and to the Frate the S. Cosimo, commanding the latter that he should work in the same rooms where he himself had worked and was still working. Having therefore set his hand with the greatest zeal to that work, the Frate made a large model of the figure, which was retouched by Buonarroti in many parts; indeed, Michelagnolo made with his own hand the head and the arms of clay, which are now at Arezzo, held by Vasari among his dearest treasures in memory of that great man. There were not wanting many envious persons who blamed Michelagnolo for his action, saying that in allotting that statue he had shown little judgment, and had made a bad choice; but the result afterwards proved, as will be related, that Michelagnolo had shown excellent judgment, and that the Frate was an able man. When Michelagnolo, with the assistance of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, had finished and placed in position the statues of Duke Giuliano and Duke Lorenzo, being summoned by the Pope, who wished that arrangements should be made for executing in marble the façade of S. Lorenzo, he went to Rome; but he had not made a long stay there, when, Pope Clement dying, everything was left unfinished. At Florence the statue of the Frate, unfinished as it was, together with the other works, was thrown open to view, and was very highly extolled; and in truth, whether it was his own study and diligence, or the assistance of Michelagnolo, it proved in the end to be an excellent figure, and the best that Fra Giovanni Agnolo ever made among all that he executed in the whole of his life, so that it was truly worthy to be placed where it was.
Buonarroti, being freed by the death of the Pope from his engagements at S. Lorenzo, turned his attention to discharging his obligations in connection with the tomb of Pope Julius II; but, since he had need of assistance for this, he sent for the Frate. But Fra Giovanni Agnolo did not go to Rome until he had finished entirely the image of Duke Alessandro for the Nunziata, which he executed in a manner different [Pg 138] from the others, and very beautiful, in the form in which that lord may still be seen, clad in armour and kneeling on a Burgundian helmet, and with one hand to his breast, in the act of recommending himself to the Madonna there. That image finished, he then went to Rome, and was of great assistance to Michelagnolo in the work of the above-mentioned tomb of Julius II.
Meanwhile Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici heard that Cardinal de Tournon had to take a sculptor to France to serve the King, and he proposed to him Fra Giovanni Agnolo, who, being much exhorted with good reasons by Michelagnolo, went with that same Cardinal de Tournon to Paris. Arriving there, he was introduced to the King, who received him very willingly, and shortly afterwards assigned to him a good allowance, with the command that he should execute four large statues. Of these the Frate had not yet finished the models, when, the King being far away and occupied in fighting with the English on the borders of his kingdom, he began to be badly treated by the treasurers, not being able to draw his allowances and have whatever he desired, according as had been ordained by the King. At which feeling great disdain—for it appeared to him that in proportion as these arts and the men of the arts were esteemed by that magnanimous King, even so they were disprized and put to shame by his Ministers—he departed, notwithstanding that the treasurers, who became aware of his displeasure, paid him his overdue allowances down to the last farthing. It is true that before setting out he gave both the King and the Cardinal to know by means of letters that he wished to go away.
Having therefore gone from Paris to Lyons, and from there through Provence to Genoa, he had not been long there when, in company with some friends, he went to Venice, Padua, Verona, and Mantua, seeing with great pleasure buildings, sculptures, and pictures, and at times drawing them; but above all did the pictures of Giulio Romano in Mantua please him, some of which he drew with care. Then, having heard at Ferrara and Bologna that his fellow-friars of the Servite Order were holding a General Chapter at Budrione, he went there in order to see again many who were his friends, and in particular the Florentine Maestro Zaccheria, [Pg 139] whom he loved most dearly. At his entreaty Fra Giovanni Agnolo made in a day and a night two figures in clay of the size of life, a Faith and a Charity, which, made in the semblance of white marble, served to adorn a temporary fountain contrived by him with a great vessel of copper, which continued to spout water during the whole day when the Chapter was held, to his great credit and honour.
Having returned with the above-named Maestro Zaccheria from Budrione to Florence, he made in his own Servite Convent, likewise of clay, and placed in two niches of the chapter-house, two figures larger than life, Moses and S. Paul, which brought him much praise. Being then sent to Arezzo by Maestro Dionisio, the General of the Servites at that time, who was afterwards made a Cardinal by Pope Paul III, and who felt himself much indebted to Angelo, the General at Arezzo, who had brought him up and taught him the appreciation of letters, Fra Giovanni Agnolo executed for that General of Arezzo a beautiful tomb of grey sandstone in S. Piero in that city, with many carvings and some statues, and upon a sarcophagus the above-named General Angelo taken from life, and two nude little boys in the round, who are weeping and extinguishing the torches of human life, with other ornaments, which render that work very beautiful. It was not yet completely finished, when, being summoned to Florence by the proveditors for the festive preparations that Duke Alessandro was then causing to be made for the visit to that city of the Emperor Charles V, who was returning victorious from Tunis, the Frate was forced to depart. Having arrived in Florence, he made on the Ponte a S. Trinita, upon a great base, a figure of eight braccia, representing the River Arno lying down, which from its attitude appeared to be rejoicing with the Rhine, the Danube, the Bagradas, and the Ebro, statues executed by others, over the coming of his Majesty; which Arno was a very good and beautiful figure. On the Canto de' Carnesecchi the same master made a figure, twelve braccia high, of Jason, Leader of the Argonauts, but this, being of immoderate size, and the time short, did not prove to have the perfection of the first; nor, indeed, did the figure of August Gladness that he made on the Canto alla Cuculia. But, everyone remembering the shortness of the time in [Pg 140] which he executed those works, they won much honour and fame for him both from the craftsmen and from all others.
Having then finished the work at Arezzo, and hearing that Girolamo Genga had a work to execute in marble at Urbino, the Frate went to seek him out; but, not having come to any agreement, he took the road to Rome, and, after staying there but a short time, went on to Naples, in the hope that he might have to make the tomb of Jacopo Sannazzaro, a gentleman of Naples, and a truly distinguished and most rare poet. Sannazzaro had built at Margoglino, a very pleasant place with a most beautiful view at the end of the Chiaia, on the shore, a magnificent and most commodious habitation, which he enjoyed during his lifetime; and, coming to his death, he left that place, which has the form of a convent, with a beautiful little church, to the Order of Servite Friars, enjoining on Signor Cesare Mormerio and the Lord Count d'Aliffe, the executors of his will, that they should erect his tomb in that church, built by himself, which was to be administered by the above-named friars. When the making of it came to be discussed, Fra Giovanni Agnolo was proposed by the friars to the above-named executors; and to him, after he had gone to Naples, as has been related, that tomb was allotted, for his models had been judged to be no little better than the many others that had been made by various sculptors, the price being a thousand crowns. Of which having received a good portion, he sent to quarry the marbles Francesco del Tadda of Fiesole, an excellent carver, whom he had commissioned to execute all the squared work and carving that had to be done in that undertaking, in order to finish it more quickly.
While the Frate was preparing himself to make that tomb, the Turkish army having entered Puglia and the people of Naples being in no little alarm on that account, orders were given that the city should be fortified, and for that purpose there were appointed four men of importance and of the best judgment. These men, wishing to make use of competent architects, turned their thoughts to the Frate; but he, having heard some rumour of this, and not considering that it was right for a man of religion, such as he was, to occupy himself with affairs of war, gave the executors to understand that he would do the work either [Pg 141] in Carrara or in Florence, and that at the appointed time it would be finished and erected in its place. Having then made his way from Naples to Florence, he straightway received a command from the Signora Donna Maria, the mother of Duke Cosimo, that he should finish the S. Cosimo that he had previously begun under the direction of Buonarroti, for the tomb of the elder Lorenzo de' Medici, the Magnificent. Whereupon he set his hand to it, and finished it; and that done, since the Duke had already caused to be constructed a great part of the conduits for the great fountain of his villa at Castello, and that fountain was to have at the top, as a crowning ornament, a Hercules in the act of crushing Antæus, from whose mouth there was to issue, in place of breath, a jet of water rising to some height, the Frate was commissioned to make for this a model of considerable size; which pleasing his Excellency, it was ordained that he should execute it and should go to Carrara to quarry the marble.
To Carrara the Frate went very willingly, hoping with that opportunity to carry forward the above-mentioned tomb of Sannazzaro, and in particular a scene with figures in half-relief. While Fra Giovanni Agnolo was there, then, Cardinal Doria wrote from Genoa to Cardinal Cibo, who happened to be at Carrara, saying that, since Bandinelli had not finished the statue of Prince Doria, and would now never finish it, he should contrive to obtain for him some able man, a sculptor, who might do it, for the reason that he had the charge of pressing on that work. Which letter having been received by Cibo, who had long had knowledge of the Frate, he did his utmost to send him to Genoa; but he steadfastly declared that he could not and would not serve his most reverend Highness until he had fulfilled the promise and obligation by which he was bound to Duke Cosimo.
While these matters were being discussed, he had carried the tomb of Sannazzaro well forward, and had blocked out the marble for the Hercules; and he then went with the latter to Florence. There he brought it with much promptitude and study to such a condition, that it would have been but little toil for him to finish it completely if he had continued to work at it. But a rumour having arisen that the marble [Pg 142] was not proving to be by any means as perfect a work as the model, and that the Frate was likely to find difficulty in fitting together the legs of the Hercules, which did not correspond with the torso, Messer Pier Francesco Riccio, the majordomo, who was paying the Frate his allowance, let himself be swayed by that more than a serious man should have done, and began to proceed very cautiously with his payments, trusting too much to Bandinelli, who was leaning with all his weight against Fra Giovanni Agnolo, in order to avenge himself for the wrong which it appeared to him that master had done to him by promising that he would make the statue of Doria when once free of his obligation to the Duke. It was also thought that the favour of Tribolo, who was executing the ornaments of Castello, was no advantage to the Frate. However that may have been, perceiving himself to be badly treated by Riccio, and being a proud and choleric man, he went off to Genoa. There he received from Cardinal Doria and from the Prince the commission for the statue of that Prince, which was to be placed on the Piazza Doria; to which having set his hand, yet without altogether neglecting the tomb of Sannazzaro, while Tadda was executing the squared work and the carvings at Carrara, he finished it to the great satisfaction of the Prince and the people of Genoa. But, although that statue had been made to be placed on the Piazza Doria, nevertheless the Genoese made so much ado, that, to the despair of the Frate, it was placed on the Piazza della Signoria, notwithstanding that he said that he had fashioned it to stand by itself on a pedestal, and that therefore it could not look well or have its proper effect against a wall. And, to tell the truth, nothing worse can be done than to set up a work made for one place in some other place, seeing that the craftsman accommodates himself in the process of his labour, with regard to the lights and view-points, to the position in which his work, whether sculpture or painting, is to be placed. After this the Genoese, seeing the scenes and figures made for the tomb of Sannazzaro, and much liking them, desired that the Frate should execute a S. John the Evangelist for their Cathedral Church; which, when finished, pleased them so much that it filled them with stupefaction.
[Pg 143] Finally Fra Giovanni Agnolo departed from Genoa and went to Naples, where he set up in the place already mentioned the tomb of Sannazzaro, which is composed in this fashion. At the lower corners are two pedestals, on each of which are carved the arms of Sannazzaro, and between them is a slab of one braccio and a half on which is carved the epitaph that Jacopo wrote for himself, supported by two little boys. Next, on each of the said pedestals is a seated statue of marble in the round, four braccia in height, these being Minerva and Apollo; and between them, set off by two ornamental consoles that are at the sides, is a scene two braccia and a half square, in which are carved in low-relief Fauns, Satyrs, Nymphs, and other figures that are playing and singing, after the manner which that most excellent man has described in the pastoral verses of his most learned Arcadia. Above this scene is placed a sarcophagus of a very beautiful shape in the round, all carved and very ornate, in which are the remains of that poet; and upon it, on a base in the centre, is his head taken from life, with these words at the foot—ACTIUS SINCERUS; accompanied by two boys with wings in the manner of Loves, who have some books about them. And in two niches that are at the sides, in the other two walls of the chapel, there are on two bases two upright figures of marble in the round, each of three braccia or little more; these being S. James the Apostle and S. Nazzaro. When this work had been built up in the manner that has been described, the above-mentioned lords, the executors, were completely satisfied with it, and all Naples likewise.
TOMB OF ANDREA DORIA
(After Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli. Genoa: S. Matteo)
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The Frate then remembering that he had promised Prince Doria that he would return to Genoa to make his tomb for him in S. Matteo and to adorn the whole church, he departed straightway from Naples and set out for Genoa. Having arrived there, he made the models of the work that he was to execute for that lord, which pleased him vastly; and then he set his hand to it, with a good allowance of money and a good number of masters. And thus, dwelling in Genoa, the Frate made many friendships with noblemen and men of distinction, and in particular with some physicians, who were of much assistance to him; for, helping one another, they made anatomical studies of many human bodies, and [Pg 144] gave their attention to architecture and perspective, and so Fra Giovanni Agnolo attained to the greatest excellence. Besides this, the Prince, going very often to the place where he was working, and much liking his discourse, conceived a very great affection for him. At that time, also, of two nephews that he had left in charge of Maestro Zaccheria, one, called Agnolo, was sent to him, a young man of beautiful genius and exemplary character; and shortly afterwards there was sent to him by the same Zaccheria another young man called Martino, the son of one Bartolommeo, a tailor. Of both these young men, teaching them as if they were his sons, the Frate availed himself in the work that he had in hand. And when he had finally come to the end of it, he built up the chapel, the tomb, and the other ornaments that he had made for that church, which forms a cross at the head of the central nave and three crosses down along the length of the nave, and has the high-altar standing isolated at the head and in the centre. The chapel, then, is supported at the corners by four large pilasters, which likewise uphold the great cornice that runs right round, over which curve four semicircular arches that lie in line with the pilasters. Of these arches, three are adorned in their central space with windows of no great size; and over the arches curves a round cornice that forms four angles between one arch and another at the corners, while above it rises a vaulting in the form of a basin. After the Frate, then, had made many ornaments of marble about the altar on all four sides, he placed upon the altar a very rich and beautiful vase of marble for the most Holy Sacrament, between two Angels of the size of life, likewise of marble. Next, around the whole runs a pattern of different kinds of stone let into the marble with a beautiful and well-varied arrangement of variegated marbles and rare stones, such as serpentines, porphyries, and jaspers. And in the principal wall, at the head of the chapel, he made another pattern from the level of the floor to the height of the altar, with similar kinds of variegated marble and stone, which forms a base to four pilasters of marble that enclose three spaces. In the central space, which is larger than the others, there is in a tomb the body of I know not what Saint, and in those at the sides are two statues of marble, representing two Evangelists. [Pg 145] Above that range of pilasters is a cornice, and above the cornice four other smaller pilasters; and these support another cornice, which is divided into compartments to hold three little tablets that correspond to the spaces below. In the central compartment, which rests upon the great cornice, is a Christ of marble rising from the dead, in full-relief, and larger than life. On the walls at the sides the same order of columns is repeated; and above that tomb, in the central space, is a Madonna in half-relief, with the Dead Christ: which Madonna is between King David and S. John the Baptist; and on the other side are S. Andrew and Jeremiah the Prophet. The lunettes of the arches above the great cornice, wherein are two windows, are in stucco-work, with two children that appear to be adorning the windows. In the angles below the tribune are four Sibyls, likewise of stucco, even as the whole vaulting is also wrought in grotesques of various manners. Beneath this chapel is built a subterranean chamber, wherein, after descending to it by a marble staircase, one sees at the head a sarcophagus of marble with two children upon it, in which was to be placed—as I believe was done after his death—the body of Signor Andrea Doria himself. And on an altar opposite to the sarcophagus, within a most beautiful vase of bronze, which was made and polished divinely well by him who cast it, whoever he may have been, is a piece of the wood of that most holy Cross upon which our Blessed Jesus Christ was crucified; which wood was presented to Prince Doria by the Duke of Savoy. The walls of that tomb are all encrusted with marble, and the vaulting wrought in stucco and gold, with many stories of the noble deeds of Doria; and the pavement is all divided into compartments with different kinds of variegated stone, to correspond with the vaulting. Next, on the walls of the cross of the nave, at the head, are two tombs of marble with two tablets in half-relief; in one is buried Count Filippino Doria, and in the other Signor Giannettino of the same family. Against the pilasters at the beginning of the central nave are two very beautiful pulpits of marble, and at the sides of the aisles there are distributed along the walls in a fine order of architecture some chapels with columns and many other ornaments, which make that church a truly rich and magnificent edifice.
[Pg 146] The church finished, the same Prince Doria ordained that work should be begun on his Palace, and that new additions of buildings should be made to it, with very beautiful gardens. These were executed under the direction of the Frate, who, having at the last constructed a fish-pond in front of that Palace, made a sea monster of marble in full-relief, which pours water in great abundance into that fish-pond; and after the likeness of that monster he made for those lords another, which was sent into Spain to Granvela. He also executed a great Neptune in stucco, which was placed on a pedestal in the garden of the Prince; and he made in marble two portraits of the same Prince and two of Charles V, which were taken by Covos to Spain.
Much the friends of the Frate, while he was living in Genoa, were Messer Cipriano Pallavicino, who, being a man of great judgment in the matters of our arts, has always associated readily with the most excellent craftsmen, and has shown them every favour; the Lord Abbot Negro, Messer Giovanni da Montepulciano, the Lord Prior of S. Matteo, and, in a word, all the first lords and gentlemen of that city, in which he acquired both fame and riches.
Having finished the works described above, Fra Giovanni Agnolo departed from Genoa and went to Rome to visit Buonarroti, whom he had not seen for many years past, and to try if he could by some means pick up again the thread of his connection with the Duke of Florence and return to complete the Hercules that he had left unfinished. But, after arriving in Rome, where he bought himself the title of Chevalier of S. Pietro, he heard by letters received from Florence that Bandinelli, pretending to be in want of marble, and giving out that the above-named Hercules was a piece of marble spoiled, had broken it up, with the leave of Riccio the majordomo, and had used it to make cornices for the tomb of Signor Giovanni, on which he was then at work; and at this he felt such disdain, that for the time being he would not on any account return to visit Florence, since it appeared to him that the presumption, arrogance, and insolence of that man were too easily endured.
FOUNTAIN OF NEPTUNE
(After Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli. Messina: Piazza del Duomo)
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While the Frate was thus passing his time in Rome, the people of Messina, having determined to erect on the Piazza of their Duomo a [Pg 147] fountain with a very great enrichment of statues, had sent men to Rome to seek out some excellent sculptor. These men had secured Raffaello da Montelupo, but he fell ill at the very moment when he was about to depart with them for Messina, so that they made another choice and took the Frate, who had sought with all insistence, and even with some interest, to obtain that work. Having therefore apprenticed as a carpenter in Rome his nephew Agnolo, who had proved to be less gifted than he had expected, he set out with Martino, and they arrived in Messina in the month of September, 1547. There, having been provided with rooms, he set his hand to making the conduit for the waters, which come from a distance, and to having marble sent from Carrara; and with great promptitude, assisted by many stone-cutters and carvers, he finished that fountain, which is made in the following manner. The fountain, I say, has eight sides—namely, four large, the principal sides, and four smaller. The principal sides are divided, and two of these, projecting outwards, form an angle in the middle, and two, receding inwards, join a straight face that belongs to the four smaller sides, so that in all there are eight. The four angular sides, which jut outwards, making a projection, give space for the four straight sides, which recede inwards; and in each enclosed space is a basin of some size, which receives water in great abundance from one of four River Gods of marble that are placed on the edge of the basin of the whole fountain, so as to command all the eight sides already described. The fountain stands on a base of four steps, which form twelve sides; eight longer sides, which contain the angles, and four smaller sides, where the basins are, under the four River Gods. The borders of the fountain are five palms high, and at each of the corners (which in all cover twenty sides) there is a terminal figure as an ornament. The circumference of the first basin with eight sides is one hundred and two palms, and the diameter is thirty-four; and in each of the above-named twenty sides is a little scene of marble in low-relief, with poetical subjects appropriate to water and fountains, such as the horse Pegasus creating the Castalian Fount, Europa passing over the sea, Icarus flying and falling into the same, Arethusa transformed into a fount, Jason crossing the sea with the Golden Fleece, [Pg 148] Narcissus changed into a fount, and Diana in the water and transforming Actæon into a stag, with other suchlike stories. At the eight angles that divide the projections of the steps of the fountain, which rises two steps towards the basins and River Gods, and four towards the angular sides, are eight Sea Monsters, lying on certain dados, with their front paws resting on some masks that pour water into some vases. The River Gods which are on the border, and which rest within the basin on dados so high that they appear as if sitting in the water, are the Nile with seven little boys, the Tiber surrounded by an infinite number of palms and trophies, the Ebro with many victories of Charles V, and the River Cumano, near Messina, from which the waters for the fountain are taken; with some stories and Nymphs executed with beautiful conceptions. Up to this level of ten palms there are sixteen jets of water, very abundant; eight come from the masks already mentioned, four from the River Gods, and four from some fishes seven palms high, which, standing upright in the basin, with their heads out, spout water towards the larger sides. In the centre of the octagonal basin, on a pedestal four palms high, are Sirens with wings in place of arms, one at each corner; and above these Sirens, which are twined together in the centre, are four Tritons eight palms high, which likewise have their tails twined together, and with their arms they support a great tazza, into which water is poured by four masks superbly carved. From the centre of that tazza rises a round shaft that supports two most hideous masks, representing Scylla and Charybdis, which are trodden under foot by three nude Nymphs, each six palms high, above whom is placed the last tazza, which is upheld by them with their arms. In that tazza four Dolphins, with their heads down and their tails raised on high, forming a base, support a ball, from the centre of which, through four heads, there issues water that spouts upwards, and so also from the Dolphins, upon which are mounted four naked little boys. On the topmost summit, finally, is a figure in armour representing the constellation of Orion, which has on the shield the arms of the city of Messina, of which Orion is said, or rather is fabled, to have been the founder.
Such, then, is that fountain of Messina, although it is not so easy [Pg 149] to describe it in words as it would be to picture it in drawing. And since it much pleased the people of Messina, they caused him to make another on the shore, where the Customs-house is; which also proved to be beautiful and very rich. Now, although that fountain has in like manner eight sides, it is nevertheless different from that described above; for it has four straight sides that rise three steps, and four others, smaller, that are semicircular, and upon these stands the fountain with its eight sides. The borders of the great basin on the lowest level have at each angle a carved pedestal of an equal height, and in the centre of four of them, on the front face, is another pedestal. On each side where the steps are semicircular there is an elliptical basin of marble, into which water pours in great abundance through two masks that are on the parapet below the carved border. In the centre of the great basin of the fountain is a pedestal high in proportion, on which are the arms of Charles V; at each angle of that pedestal is a Sea-horse, which spouts water on high from between its feet; and in the frieze of the same, beneath the upper cornice, are eight great masks that pour jets of water downwards. And on the summit is a Neptune of five braccia, who holds the trident in his hand, and has the right leg planted beside a Dolphin. At the sides, also, upon two other pedestals, are Scylla and Charybdis in the forms of two monsters, fashioned very well, with heads of Dogs and Furies about them.
That work, likewise, when finished, much pleased the people of Messina, who, having found a man to their liking, made a beginning, when the fountains were completed, with the façade of the Duomo, and carried it to some extent forward. And then they ordained that twelve chapels in the Corinthian Order should be made in that Duomo, six on either side, with the twelve Apostles in marble, each of five braccia. Of these chapels only four were finished by the Frate, who also made with his own hand a S. Peter and a S. Paul, which were two large and very good figures. He was also commissioned to make a Christ of marble for the head of the principal chapel, with a very rich ornament all around, and a scene in low-relief beneath each of the statues of the Apostles; but at that time he did nothing more. On the Piazza of the same Duomo he [Pg 150] directed the building of the Temple of S. Lorenzo, in a beautiful manner of architecture, which won him much praise; and on the shore there was built under his direction the Beacon-tower. And while these works were being carried forward, he caused a chapel to be erected for the Captain Cicala in S. Domenico, for which he made a Madonna of marble as large as life; and for the chapel of Signor Agnolo Borsa, in the cloister of the same church, he executed a scene of marble in low-relief, which was held to be beautiful, and was wrought with much diligence. He also caused water to be conducted by way of the wall of S. Agnolo for a fountain, and made for it with his own hand a large boy of marble, which pours water into a vase that is very ornate and beautifully contrived; which was held to be a lovely work. At the Wall of the Virgin he made another fountain, with a Virgin by his own hand, which pours water into a basin; and for that which is erected at the Palace of Signor Don Filippo Laroca, he made a boy larger than life, of a kind of stone that is used at Messina, which boy, surrounded by certain monsters and other products of the sea, pours water into a vase. And he made a statue in marble of four braccia, a very beautiful figure of S. Catharine the Martyr, which was sent to Taormina, a place twenty-four miles distant from Messina.
(After Fra Giovanni Agnolo Montorsoli. Bologna: S. Maria dei Servi)
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Friends of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, while he was living at Messina, were the above-named Signor Don Filippo Laroca, and Don Francesco of the same family; Messer Bardo Corsi, Giovan Francesco Scali, and M. Lorenzo Borghini, all three Florentine gentlemen then in Messina; Serafino da Fermo, and the Grand Master of Rhodes, which last many times sought to draw him to Malta and to make him a Knight; but he answered that he did not wish to confine himself in that island, besides which, feeling that he was doing ill not to be wearing the habit of his Order, he thought at times of going back to it. And, in truth, I know that even if he had not been in a manner forced to do it, he was determined to resume the habit and to go back to live like a good Churchman. When, therefore, in the time of Pope Paul IV, in the year 1557, all the apostates, or rather, friars who had thrown off the habit, were constrained to return to their Orders under threat of the severest penalties, Fra Giovanni [Pg 151] Agnolo abandoned the works that he had in hand, leaving his disciple Martino in his place, and went in the month of May from Messina to Naples, intending to return to his Servite Monastery in Florence.
But before doing any other thing, wishing to devote himself entirely to God, he set about thinking how he might dispose of his great gains most suitably. And so, after having given in marriage certain nieces who were poor girls, and others from his native country and from Montorsoli, he ordained that a thousand crowns should be given to his nephew Agnolo, of whom mention has been already made, in Rome, and that a knighthood of the Lily should be bought for him. To each of two hospitals in Naples he gave a good sum of money in alms. To his own Servite Convent he left a thousand crowns to buy a farm, and also that at Montorsoli which had belonged to his forefathers, on the condition that twenty-five crowns should be paid to each of two nephews of his own, friars of the same Order, every year during their lifetime, together with other charges that will be mentioned later. All these matters being arranged, he showed himself in Rome and resumed the habit, with much joy to himself and to his fellow-friars, and particularly to Maestro Zaccheria. Then, having gone to Florence, he was received and welcomed by his relatives and friends with incredible pleasure and gladness. But, although the Frate had determined that he would spend the rest of his life in the service of our Lord God and the salvation of his soul, and live in peace and quietness, enjoying a knighthood that he had reserved for himself, he did not succeed in this so easily. For he was summoned to Bologna with great insistence by Maestro Giulio Bovio, the uncle of Vascone Bovio, to the end that he might make the high-altar in the Church of the Servites, which was to be all of marble and isolated, and in addition a tomb with figures, richly decorated with variegated stone and incrustations of marble; and he was not able to refuse him, particularly because that work was to be executed in a church of his Order. Having therefore gone to Bologna, he set his hand to the work and executed it in twenty-eight months, making that altar, which shuts off the choir of the friars from one pilaster to the other, all of marble both within and without, with a nude Christ of two braccia and a half in the centre, and with some [Pg 152] other statues at the sides. That work is truly beautiful in architecture, well designed and distributed, and so well put together, that nothing better could be done; the pavement, also, wherein there is the tomb of Bovio on the level of the ground, is wrought in a beautifully ordered pattern; certain candelabra of marble, with some little figures and scenes, are passing well contrived; and every part is rich in carving. But the figures, besides that they are small, on account of the difficulty that is found in conveying large pieces of marble to Bologna, are not equal to the architecture, nor much worthy to be praised.
While Fra Giovanni Agnolo was executing that work in Bologna, he was ever pondering, as one who was not yet firmly resolved in the matter, in what place, among those of his Order, he might be able most conveniently to spend his last years; when Maestro Zaccheria, his very dear friend, who was then Prior of the Nunziata in Florence, desiring to attract him to that place and to settle him there, spoke of him to Duke Cosimo, recalling to his memory the excellence of the Frate, and praying that he should deign to make use of him. To which the Duke having answered graciously, saying that he would avail himself of the Frate as soon as he had returned from Bologna, Maestro Zaccheria wrote to him of the whole matter, and then sent him a letter of Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, in which that lord exhorted him that he should return to his own country to execute some important work with his own hand. Having received these letters, the Frate, remembering that Messer Pier Francesco Riccio, after having been mad many years, had died, and that Bandinelli also had left the world, which men had seemed to be little his friends, wrote back that he would not fail to return as soon as he might be able, in order to serve his most illustrious Excellency, and to execute under his protection not profane things, but some sacred work, since he had a mind wholly turned to the service of God and of His Saints.
Finally, then, having returned to Florence in the year 1561, he went off with Maestro Zaccheria to Pisa, where the Lord Duke and the Cardinal were, to do reverence to their most illustrious lordships; and after he had been received with much kindness and favour by those lords, and informed [Pg 153] by the Duke that after his return to Florence he would be given a work of importance to execute, he went back. Then, having obtained leave from his fellow-friars of the Nunziata by means of Maestro Zaccheria, he erected in the centre of the chapter-house of that convent, where many years before he had made the Moses and S. Paul of stucco, as has been related above, a very beautiful tomb for himself and for all such men of the arts of design, painters, sculptors, and architects, as had not a place of their own in which to be buried; intending to arrange by a contract, as he did, that those friars, in return for the property that he was to leave to them, should be obliged to say Mass on some feast-days and ordinary days in that chapter-house, and that every year, on the day of the most Holy Trinity, a solemn festival should be held there, and on the following day an office of the dead for the souls of those buried in that place.
This design having then been imparted by Fra Giovanni Agnolo and Maestro Zaccheria to Giorgio Vasari, who was very much their friend, they discoursed together on the affairs of the Company of Design, which had been created in the time of Giotto, and had a home in S. Maria Nuova in Florence, which it had possessed from that time down to our own, as may still be seen at the present day from a record at the high-altar of that Hospital; and they thought with this occasion to revive it and set it up again. For that Company had been removed from the above-mentioned high-altar, as has been related in the Life of Jacopo di Casentino, to a place under the vaulting of the same Hospital at the corner of the Via della Pergola, and finally had been removed and driven from that place also by Don Isidoro Montaguti, the Director of the Hospital, so that it was almost entirely dispersed, and no longer assembled. Now, after Fra Giovanni Agnolo, Maestro Zaccheria, and Giorgio had thus discoursed at some length of the condition of that Company, and the Frate had spoken of it with Bronzino, Francesco da San Gallo, Ammanati, Vincenzio de' Rossi, Michele di Ridolfo, and many other sculptors and painters of the first rank, and had declared his mind to them, when the morning of the most Holy Trinity came, all the most noble and excellent craftsmen of the arts of design, to the number of [Pg 154] forty-eight, were assembled in the above-named chapter-house, where a most beautiful festival had been prepared, and where the tomb was already finished, and the altar so far advanced that there were wanting only some figures of marble that were going into it. There, after a most solemn Mass had been said, a beautiful oration was made by one of those fathers in praise of Fra Giovanni Agnolo, and of the magnificent liberality that he was showing to the Company by presenting to them that chapter-house, that tomb, and that chapel, in order to take possession of which, he said in conclusion, it had been already arranged that the body of Pontormo, which had been placed in a vault in the first little cloister of the Nunziata, should be laid in the new tomb before any other. When, therefore, the Mass and the oration were finished, they all went into the church, where there were on a bier the remains of that Pontormo; and then, having placed the bier on the shoulders of the younger men, with a taper for each and also some torches, they passed around the Piazza and carried it into the chapter-house, which, previously draped with cloth of gold, they found all black and covered with painted corpses and other suchlike things; and thus was Pontormo laid in the new tomb.
The Company then dispersing, the first meeting was ordained for the next Sunday, when, besides settling the constitution of the Company, they were to make a selection of the best and create an Academy, with the assistance of which those without knowledge might learn, and those with knowledge, spurred by honourable and praiseworthy emulation, might proceed to make greater proficience. Giorgio, meanwhile, had spoken of these matters with the Duke, and had besought him that he should favour the study of these noble arts, even as he had favoured the study of letters by reopening the University of Pisa, creating a college for scholars, and making a beginning with the Florentine Academy; and he found him as ready to assist and favour that enterprise as he could have desired. After these things, the Servite Friars, having thought better over the matter, came to a resolution, which they made known to the Company, that they would not have their chapter-house used by them save for holding festivals, offices, and burials, and would not have [Pg 155] their convent disturbed by the Company's meetings and assemblies, or in any other way. Of which Giorgio having spoken with the Duke, demanding some place from him, his Excellency said that he had thought of providing them with one wherein they might not only be able to erect a building for the Company, but also have room enough to work and demonstrate their worth. And shortly afterwards he wrote through M. Lelio Torelli to the Prior and Monks of the Angeli, giving them to understand that they were to accommodate the above-named Company in the temple that had been begun in their monastery by Filippo Scolari, called Lo Spano. The monks obeyed, and the Company was provided with certain rooms, in which they assembled many times with the gracious leave of those fathers, who received them sometimes even in their own chapter-house with much courtesy. But the Duke having been informed afterwards that some of those monks were not altogether content that the Company's building should be erected in their precincts, because the monastery would be encumbered thereby, and the above-named temple, which the craftsmen said that they wished to fill with their works, would do very well as it was, so far as they were concerned, his Excellency made it known to the men of the Academy, which had already made a beginning and had held the festival of S. Luke in that temple, that the monks, so he understood, were not very willing to have them in their house, and that therefore he would not fail to provide them with another place. The same Lord Duke also said, like the truly magnanimous Prince that he is, that he wished not only always to favour that Academy, but also to be himself its chief, guide, and protector, and that for that reason he would appoint year by year a Lieutenant who might be present in his stead at all their meetings. Acting on this promise, he chose as the first the reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, the Director of the Hospital of the Innocenti; and for these favours and courtesies shown by the Lord Duke to his new Academy, he was thanked by ten of the oldest and most excellent of its members. But since the reformation of the Company and the rules of the Academy are described at great length in the statutes that were drawn up by the men elected and deputed for that purpose as reformers by the whole body (who were Fra Giovanni Agnolo, Francesco [Pg 156] da San Gallo, Agnolo Bronzino, Giorgio Vasari, Michele di Ridolfo, and Pier Francesco di Jacopo di Sandro), in the presence of the said Lieutenant, and with the approval of his Excellency, I shall say no more about it in this place. I must mention, however, that since the old seal and arms, or rather, device of the Company, which was a winged ox lying down, the animal of S. Luke the Evangelist, displeased many of them, it was ordained that each one should give in words his suggestion for a new one, or show it in a drawing, and then there were seen the most beautiful inventions and the most lovely and extravagant fantasies that could be imagined. But for all that it is not yet completely determined which of them is to be accepted.
Meanwhile Martino, the disciple of the Frate, having come from Messina to Florence, died in a few days, and was buried in the above-named tomb that had been made by his master. And not long afterwards, in 1564, the good father himself, Fra Giovanni Agnolo, who had been so excellent a sculptor, was buried in the same tomb with most honourable obsequies, a very beautiful oration being delivered in his praise in the Temple of the Nunziata by the very reverend and most learned Maestro Michelagnolo. Truly great is the debt that our arts for many reasons owe to Fra Giovanni Agnolo, in that he bore infinite love to them and likewise to their craftsmen; and of what great service has been and still is that Academy, which may be said to have received its origin from him in the manner that has been described, and which is now under the protection of the Lord Duke Cosimo, and assembles by his command in the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo, where there are so many works in sculpture by Michelagnolo, may be recognized from this, that not only in the obsequies of that Buonarroti (which, thanks to our craftsmen and to the assistance of the Prince, were not merely magnificent, but little less than regal, and which will be described in his Life), but also in many other undertakings, the same men, from emulation, and from a desire not to be unworthy of their Academy, have achieved marvellous things, and particularly in the nuptials of the most illustrious Lord, Don Francesco de' Medici, Prince of Florence and Siena, and of her Serene Highness, Queen Joanna of Austria, which have been described [Pg 157] fully and in due order by others, and will be described again by us at great length in a more convenient place.
And since not only in this good father, but also in many others of whom we have spoken above, it has been seen, as it still continues to be, that good Churchmen are useful and serviceable to the world in the arts and in the other more noble exercises no less than in letters, in public instruction, and in sacred councils, and that they have no reason to fear comparison in this respect with others, it may be said that there is probably no truth whatever in that which certain persons, influenced more by anger or by some private spite than by reason and love of truth, declare so freely of them—namely, that they devote themselves to such a life because from poverty of spirit they have not, like other men, the power to make a livelihood; for which may God forgive them. Fra Giovanni Agnolo lived fifty-six years, and died on the last day of August, 1563.
The father of Francesco Salviati, whose Life we are now about to write, and who was born in the year 1510, was a good man called Michelagnolo de' Rossi, a weaver of velvets; and he, having not only this child but also many others, both male and female, and being therefore in need of assistance, had determined in his own mind that he would at all costs make Francesco devote himself to his own calling of weaving velvets. But the boy, who had turned his mind to other things, and did not like the pursuit of that trade, although in the past it had been practised by persons, I will not say noble, but passing rich and prosperous, followed his father's wishes in that matter with no good-will. Indeed, associating in the Via de' Servi, where his father had a house, with the children of Domenico Naldini, their neighbour and an honoured citizen, he showed himself all given to gentle and honourable ways, and much inclined to design. In which matter he received no little assistance for a time from a cousin of his own called Diacceto, a young goldsmith, who had a passing good knowledge of design, in that he not only taught him all that he knew, but also furnished him with many drawings by various able men, over which, without telling his father, Francesco practised day and night with extraordinary zeal. And Domenico Naldini, having become aware of this, first examined the boy well, and then prevailed upon his father, Michelagnolo, to place him in his uncle's shop to learn the goldsmith's art; by reason of which opportunity for design Francesco in a few months made so much proficience, that everyone was astonished.
In those days a company of young goldsmiths and painters used to [Pg 162] assemble together at times and go throughout Florence on feast-days drawing the most famous works, and not one of them laboured more or with greater love than did Francesco. The young men of that company were Nanni di Prospero delle Corniole, the goldsmith Francesco di Girolamo dal Prato, Nannoccio da San Giorgio, and many other lads who afterwards became able men in their professions.
PORTRAIT OF A MAN
(After the panel by Francesco Salviati [Francesco de' Rossi]. Florence: Uffizi, 1256)
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At this time Francesco and Giorgio Vasari, both being still boys, became fast friends, and in the following manner. In the year 1523, Silvio Passerini, Cardinal of Cortona, passing through Arezzo as the Legate of Pope Clement VII, Antonio Vasari, his kinsman, took Giorgio, his eldest son, to make his reverence to the Cardinal. And the Cardinal, finding that the boy, who at that time was not more than nine years of age, had been so well grounded in his first letters by the diligence of M. Antonio da Saccone and of Messer Giovanni Pollastra, an excellent poet of Arezzo, that he knew by heart a great part of the Æneid of Virgil, which he was pleased to hear him recite, and that he had learned to draw from Guglielmo da Marcilla, the French painter—the Cardinal, I say, ordained that Antonio should himself take the boy to Florence. There Giorgio was settled in the house of M. Niccolò Vespucci, Knight of Rhodes, who lived on the abutment of the Ponte Vecchio, above the Church of the Sepolcro, and was placed with Michelagnolo Buonarroti; and this circumstance came to the knowledge of Francesco, who was then living in the Chiasso di Messer Bivigliano, where his father rented a great house that faced on the Vacchereccia, employing many workmen. Whereupon, since like always draws to like, he so contrived that he became the friend of Giorgio, by means of M. Marco da Lodi, a gentleman of the above-named Cardinal of Cortona, who showed to Giorgio a portrait, which much pleased him, by the hand of Francesco, who a short time before had been placed to learn painting with Giuliano Bugiardini. Meanwhile Vasari, not neglecting the study of letters, by order of the Cardinal spent two hours every day with Ippolito and Alessandro de' Medici, under their master Pierio, an able man. And this friendship, contracted as described above between Vasari and Francesco, became such that it never ceased to bind them together, although, by reason of [Pg 163] their rivalry and a certain somewhat haughty manner of speech that Francesco had, some persons thought otherwise.
When Vasari had been some months with Michelagnolo, that excellent man was summoned to Rome by Pope Clement, to receive instructions for beginning the Library of S. Lorenzo; and he was placed by him, before he departed, with Andrea del Sarto. And devoting himself under him to design, Giorgio was continually lending his master's drawings in secret to Francesco, who had no greater desire than to obtain and study them, as he did day and night. Afterwards Giorgio was placed by the Magnificent Ippolito with Baccio Bandinelli, who was pleased to have the boy with him and to teach him; and Vasari contrived to obtain Francesco as his companion, with great advantage to them both, for the reason that while working together they learned more and made greater progress in one month than they had done in two years while drawing by themselves. And the same did another young man who was likewise working under Bandinelli at that time, called Nannoccio of the Costa San Giorgio, of whom mention was made not long ago.
In the year 1527, the Medici being expelled from Florence, there was a fight for the Palace of the Signoria, and a bench was thrown down from on high so as to fall upon those who were assaulting the door; but, as fate would have it, that bench hit an arm of the David in marble by Buonarroti, which is beside the door on the Ringhiera, and broke it into three pieces. These pieces having remained on the ground for three days, without being picked up by anyone, Francesco went to the Ponte Vecchio to find Giorgio, and told him his intention; and then, children as they were, they went to the Piazza, and, without thinking of any danger, in the midst of the soldiers of the guard, they took the pieces of that arm and carried them to the house of Michelagnolo, the father of Francesco, in the Chiasso di M. Bivigliano. From which house having afterwards recovered them, Duke Cosimo in time caused them to be restored to their places with pegs of copper.
After this, the Medici being in exile, and with them the above-mentioned Cardinal of Cortona, Antonio Vasari took his son back to Arezzo, to the no little regret of Giorgio and Francesco, who loved one [Pg 164] another as brothers. But they did not long remain separated from each other, for the reason that after the plague, which came in the following August, had killed Giorgio's father and the best part of his family, he was so pressed with letters by Francesco, who also came very near dying of plague, that he returned to Florence. There, working with incredible zeal for a period of two years, being driven by necessity and by the desire to learn, they made marvellous proficience, having recourse, together with the above-named Nannoccio da San Giorgio, to the workshop of the painter Raffaello da Brescia, under whom Francesco, being the one who had most need to provide himself with the means to live, executed many little pictures.
Having come to the year 1529, since it did not appear to Francesco that staying in Brescia's workshop was doing him much good, he and Nannoccio went to work with Andrea del Sarto, and stayed with him all the time that the siege lasted, but in such discomfort, that they repented that they had not followed Giorgio, who spent that year in Pisa with the goldsmith Manno, giving his attention for four months to the goldsmith's craft to occupy himself. Vasari having then gone to Bologna, at the time when the Emperor Charles V was crowned there by Clement VII, Francesco, who had remained in Florence, executed on a little panel a votive picture for a soldier who had been murderously attacked in bed by certain other soldiers during the siege; and although it was a paltry thing, he studied it and executed it to perfection. That votive picture fell not many years ago into the hands of Giorgio Vasari, who presented it to the reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, the Director of the Hospital of the Innocenti, who holds it dear. For the Black Friars of the Badia Francesco painted three little scenes on a Tabernacle of the Sacrament made by the carver Tasso in the manner of a triumphal arch. In one of these is the Sacrifice of Abraham, in the second the Manna, and in the third the Hebrews eating the Paschal Lamb on their departure from Egypt; and the work was such that it gave an earnest of the success that he has since achieved. He then painted in a picture for Francesco Sertini, who sent it to France, a Dalilah who was cutting off the locks of Samson, and in the distance Samson embracing the [Pg 165] columns of the temple and bringing it down upon the Philistines; which picture made Francesco known as the most excellent of the young painters that were then in Florence.
Not long afterwards the elder Cardinal Salviati having requested Benvenuto della Volpaia, a master of clock-making, who was in Rome at that time, to find for him a young painter who might live with him and paint some pictures for his delight, Benvenuto proposed to him Francesco, who was his friend, and whom he knew to be the most competent of all the young painters of his acquaintance; which he did all the more willingly because the Cardinal had promised that he would give the young man every facility and all assistance to enable him to study. The Cardinal, then, liking the young Francesco's qualities, said to Benvenuto that he should send for him, and gave him money for that purpose. And so, when Francesco had arrived in Rome, the Cardinal, being pleased with his method of working, his ways, and his manners, ordained that he should have rooms in the Borgo Vecchio, and four crowns a month, with a place at the table of his gentlemen. The first works that Francesco (to whom it appeared that he had been very fortunate) executed for the Cardinal were a picture of Our Lady, which was held to be very beautiful, and a canvas of a French nobleman who is running in chase of a hind, which, flying from him, takes refuge in the Temple of Diana: of which work I keep the design, drawn by his hand, in my book, in memory of him. That canvas finished, the Cardinal caused him to portray in a very beautiful picture of Our Lady a niece of his own, married to Signor Cagnino Gonzaga, and likewise that lord himself.
Now, while Francesco was living in Rome, with no greater desire than to see his friend Giorgio Vasari in that city, Fortune was favourable to his wishes in that respect, and even more to Vasari. For, Cardinal Ippolito having parted in great anger from Pope Clement for reasons that were discussed at the time, but returning not long afterwards to Rome accompanied by Baccio Valori, in passing through Arezzo he found Giorgio, who had been left without a father and was occupying himself as best he could; wherefore, desiring that he should make some proficience in art, and wishing to have him near his person, he commanded Tommaso [Pg 166] de' Nerli, who was Commissary there, that he should send him to Rome as soon as he should have finished a chapel that he was painting in fresco for the Monks of S. Bernardo, of the Order of Monte Oliveto, in that city. That commission Nerli executed immediately, and Giorgio, having thus arrived in Rome, went straightway to find Francesco, who joyfully described to him in what favour he was with his lord the Cardinal, and how he was in a place where he could satisfy his hunger for study; adding, also: "Not only do I enjoy the present, but I hope for even better things, for, besides seeing you in Rome, with whom, as the young friend nearest to my heart, I shall be able to study and discuss the matters of art, I also live in hope of entering the service of Cardinal Ippolito de' Medici, from whose liberality, as well as from the favour of the Pope, I may look for greater things than I have at present; and this will happen without a doubt if a certain young man, who is expected from abroad, does not arrive." Giorgio, although he knew that the young man who was expected was himself, and that the place was being kept for him, yet would not reveal himself, because of a certain doubt that had entered his mind as to whether the Cardinal might not have another in view, and also from a wish not to declare a circumstance that might afterwards fall out differently. Giorgio had brought a letter from the above-named Commissary Nerli to the Cardinal, which, after having been five days in Rome, he had not yet presented. Finally Giorgio and Francesco went to the Palace and found in what is now the Hall of Kings Messer Marco da Lodi, who had formerly been with the Cardinal of Cortona, as was related above, but was then in the service of Medici. To him Giorgio presented himself, saying that he had a letter from the Commissary of Arezzo that was to be delivered to the Cardinal, and praying that he should give it to him; which Messer Marco was promising to do immediately, when at that very moment the Cardinal himself appeared there. Whereupon Giorgio, coming forward before him, presented the letter and kissed his hands; and he was received graciously, and shortly afterwards given into the charge of Jacopone da Bibbiena, the master of the household, who was commanded to provide him with rooms and with a place at the table of the pages. It appeared a strange thing to Francesco that Giorgio should [Pg 167] not have confided the matter to him; but he was persuaded that he had done it for the best and with a good intention.
When the above-named Jacopone, therefore, had given Giorgio some rooms behind S. Spirito, near Francesco, the two devoted themselves in company all that winter to the study of art, with much profit, leaving no noteworthy work, either in the Palace or in any other part of Rome, that they did not draw. And since, when the Pope was in the Palace, they were not able to stay there drawing at their ease, as soon as his Holiness had ridden forth to the Magliana, as he often did, they would gain admittance by means of friends into those apartments to draw, and would stay there from morning till night without eating anything but a little bread, and almost freezing with cold. Cardinal Salviati having then commanded Francesco that he should paint in fresco in the chapel of his Palace, where he heard Mass every morning, some stories of the life of S. John the Baptist, Francesco set himself to study nudes from life, and Giorgio with him, in a bath-house near there; and afterwards they made some anatomical studies in the Campo Santo.
The spring having then come, Cardinal Ippolito, being sent by the Pope to Hungary, ordained that Giorgio should be sent to Florence, and should there execute some pictures and portraits that he had to despatch to Rome. But in the July following, what with the fatigues of the past winter and the heat of summer, Giorgio fell ill and was carried by litter to Arezzo, to the great sorrow of Francesco, who also fell sick and was like to die. However, being restored to health, Francesco was commissioned by Maestro Filippo da Siena, at the instance of Antonio L'Abacco, a master-worker in wood, to paint in fresco in a niche over the door at the back of S. Maria della Pace, a Christ speaking with S. Filippo, and in two angles the Virgin and the Angel of the Annunciation; which pictures, much pleasing Maestro Filippo, were the reason that he caused him to paint the Assumption of Our Lady in the same place, in a large square space that was not yet painted in one of the eight sides of that temple. Whereupon Francesco, reflecting that he had to execute that work not merely in a public place, but in a place where there were pictures by the rarest masters—Raffaello da Urbino, Rosso, Baldassarre da [Pg 168] Siena, and others—put all possible study and diligence into executing it in oils on the wall, so that it proved to be a beautiful picture, and was much extolled; and excellent among other figures is held to be the portrait that he painted there of the above-named Maestro Filippo with the hands clasped. And since Francesco lived, as has been told, with Cardinal Salviati, and was known as his protégé, he began to be called and known by no other name but Cecchino Salviati, and he kept that name to the day of his death.
Pope Clement VII being dead and Paul III elected, M. Bindo Altoviti caused Francesco to paint on the façade of his house at the Ponte S. Agnolo the arms of the new Pontiff, with some large nude figures, which gave infinite satisfaction. About the same time he made a portrait of that Messer Bindo, which was a very good figure and a beautiful portrait; and this was afterwards sent to his villa of S. Mizzano in the Valdarno, where it still is. He then painted for the Church of S. Francesco a Ripa a very beautiful altar-picture of the Annunciation in oils, which was executed with the greatest diligence. For the coming of Charles V to Rome in the year 1535, he painted for Antonio da San Gallo some scenes in chiaroscuro, which were placed on the arch that was made at S. Marco; and these pictures, as has been said in another place, were the best that there were in all those festive decorations.
Afterwards Signor Pier Luigi Farnese, who had been made Lord of Nepi at that time, wishing to adorn that city with new buildings and pictures, took Francesco into his service, giving him rooms in the Belvedere; and there Francesco painted for him on large canvases some scenes in gouache of the actions of Alexander the Great, which were afterwards carried into execution and woven into tapestries in Flanders. For the same Lord of Nepi he decorated a large and very beautiful bathroom with many scenes and figures executed in fresco. Then, the same lord having been created Duke of Castro, for his first entry rich and most beautiful decorations were made in that city under the direction of Francesco, and at the gate an arch all covered with scenes, figures, and statues, executed with much judgment by able men, and in particular by Alessandro, called Scherano, a sculptor of Settignano. Another arch, [Pg 169] in the form of a façade, was made at the Petrone, and yet another on the Piazza, which arches, with regard to the woodwork, were executed by Battista Botticelli; and in these festive preparations, among other things, Francesco made a beautiful perspective-scene for a comedy that was performed.
About the same time, Giulio Camillo, who was then in Rome, having made a book of his compositions in order to send it to King Francis of France, had it all illustrated by Francesco Salviati, who put into it all the diligence that it is possible to devote to such a work. Cardinal Salviati, having a desire to possess a picture in tinted woods (that is, in tarsia) by the hand of Fra Damiano da Bergamo, a lay-brother of S. Domenico at Bologna, sent him a design done in red chalk by the hand of Francesco, as a pattern for its execution; which design, representing King David being anointed by Samuel, was the best thing that Cecchino Salviati ever drew, and truly most rare. After this, Giovanni da Cepperello and Battista Gobbo of San Gallo—who had caused the Florentine painter Jacopo del Conte, then a young man, to paint in the Florentine Company of the Misericordia in S. Giovanni Decollato, under the Campidoglio at Rome, namely, in the second church where they hold their assemblies, a story of that same S. John the Baptist, showing the Angel appearing to Zacharias in the Temple—commissioned Francesco to paint below that scene another story of the same Saint, namely, the Visitation of Our Lady to S. Elizabeth. That work, which was finished in the year 1538, he executed in fresco in such a manner, that it is worthy to be numbered among the most graceful and best conceived pictures that Francesco ever painted, in the invention, in the composition of the scene, in the method and the attention to rules for the gradation of the figures, in the perspective and the architecture of the buildings, in the nudes, in the draped figures, in the grace of the heads, and, in short, in every part; wherefore it is no marvel if all Rome was struck with astonishment by it. Around a window he executed some bizarre fantasies in imitation of marble, and some little scenes that have marvellous grace. And since Francesco never wasted any time, while he was engaged on that work he executed many other things, and also drawings, and he [Pg 170] coloured a Phaëthon with the Horses of the Sun, which Michelagnolo had drawn. All these things Salviati showed to Giorgio, who after the death of Duke Alessandro had gone to Rome for two months; saying to him that, once he had finished a picture of a young S. John that he was painting for his master Cardinal Salviati, a Passion of Christ on canvas that was to be sent to Spain, and a picture of Our Lady that he was painting for Raffaello Acciaiuoli, he wished to turn his steps to Florence in order to revisit his native place, his relatives, and his friends, for his father and mother were still alive, to whom he was always of the greatest assistance, and particularly in settling two sisters, one of whom was married, and the other is a nun in the Convent of Monte Domini.
Coming thus to Florence, where he was received with much rejoicing by his relatives and friends, it chanced that he arrived there at the very moment when the festive preparations were being made for the nuptials of Duke Cosimo and the Lady Donna Leonora di Toledo. Wherefore he was commissioned to paint one of the already mentioned scenes that were executed in the courtyard, which he accepted very willingly; and that was the one in which the Emperor was placing the Ducal crown on the head of Duke Cosimo. But being seized, before he had finished it, with a desire to go to Venice, Francesco left it to Carlo Portelli of Loro, who finished it after Francesco's design; which design, with many others by the same hand, is in our book.
Having departed from Florence and made his way to Bologna, Francesco found there Giorgio Vasari, who had returned two days before from Camaldoli, where he had finished the two altar-pieces that are in the tramezzo of the church, and had begun that of the high-altar; and Vasari was arranging to paint three great panel-pictures for the refectory of the Fathers of S. Michele in Bosco, where he kept Francesco with him for two days. During that time, some of his friends made efforts to obtain for him the commission for an altar-piece that was to be allotted by the men of the Della Morte Hospital. But, although Salviati made a most beautiful design, those men, having little understanding, were [Pg 171] not able to recognize the opportunity that Messer Domeneddio had sent them of obtaining for Bologna a work by the hand of an able master. Wherefore Francesco went away in some disdain, leaving some very beautiful designs in the hands of Girolamo Fagiuoli, to the end that he might engrave them on copper and have them printed.
Having arrived in Venice, he was received courteously by the Patriarch Grimani and his brother Messer Vettorio, who showed him a thousand favours. For that Patriarch, after a few days, he painted in oils, in an octagon of four braccia, a most beautiful Psyche to whom, as to a Goddess, on account of her beauty, incense and votive offerings are presented; which octagon was placed in a hall in the house of that lord, wherein is a ceiling in the centre of which there curve some festoons executed by Camillo Mantovano, an excellent painter in representing landscapes, flowers, leaves, fruits, and other suchlike things. That octagon, I say, was placed in the midst of four pictures each two braccia and a half square, executed with stories of the same Psyche, as was related in the Life of Genga, by Francesco da Forlì; and the octagon is not only beyond all comparison more beautiful than those four pictures, but even the most beautiful work of painting that there is in all Venice. After that, in a chamber wherein Giovanni Ricamatori of Udine had executed many works in stucco, he painted some little figures in fresco, both nude and draped, which are full of grace. In like manner, in an altar-piece that he executed for the Nuns of the Corpus Domini at Venice, he painted with much diligence a Dead Christ with the Maries, and in the air an Angel who has the Mysteries of the Passion in the hands. He made the portrait of M. Pietro Aretino, which, as a rare work, was sent by that poet to King Francis, with some verses in praise of him who had painted it. And for the Nuns of S. Cristina in Bologna, of the Order of Camaldoli, the same Salviati, at the entreaty of Don Giovan Francesco da Bagno, their Confessor, painted an altar-piece with many figures, a truly beautiful picture, which is in the church of that convent.
Then, having grown weary of the life in Venice, as one who remembered [Pg 172] that of Rome, and considering that it was no place for men of design, Francesco departed in order to return to Rome. And so, making a détour by Verona and Mantua, in the first of which places he saw the many antiquities that are there, and in the other the works of Giulio Romano, he made his way back to Rome by the road through Romagna, and arrived there in the year 1541. There, having rested a little, the first works that he made were the portrait of Messer Giovanni Gaddi and that of Messer Annibale Caro, who were much his friends. Those finished, he painted a very beautiful altar-piece for the Chapel of the Clerks of the Chamber in the Pope's Palace. And in the Church of the Germans he began a chapel in fresco for a merchant of that nation, painting on the vault above the Apostles receiving the Holy Spirit, and in a picture that is half-way up the wall Jesus Christ rising from the dead, with the soldiers sleeping round the Sepulchre in various attitudes, foreshortened in a bold and beautiful manner. On one side he painted S. Stephen, and on the other side S. George, in two niches; and at the foot he painted S. Giovanni Limosinario, who is giving alms to a naked beggar, with a Charity on one side of him, and on the other side S. Alberto, the Carmelite Friar, between Logic and Prudence. And in the great altar-picture, finally, he painted in fresco the Dead Christ with the Maries.
Having formed a friendship with Piero di Marcone, a Florentine goldsmith, and having become his gossip, Francesco made to Piero's wife, who was also his gossip, after her delivery, a present of a very beautiful design, which was to be painted on one of those round baskets in which food is brought to a newly-delivered woman. In that design there was the life of man, in a number of square compartments containing very beautiful figures, both on one side and on the other; namely, all the ages of human life, each of which rested on a different festoon appropriate to the particular age and the season. In that bizarre composition were included, in two long ovals, figures of the sun and moon, and between them Sais, a city of Egypt, standing before the Temple of the Goddess Pallas and praying for wisdom, as if to signify that on behalf of newborn children one should pray before any other thing for wisdom and [Pg 173] goodness. That design Piero held ever afterwards as dear as if it had been, as indeed it was, a most beautiful jewel.
Not long afterwards, the above-named Piero and other friends having written to Francesco that he would do well to return to his native place, for the reason that it was held to be certain that he would be employed by the Lord Duke Cosimo, who had no masters about him save such as were slow and irresolute, he finally determined (trusting much, also, in the favour of M. Alamanno, the brother of the Cardinal and uncle of the Duke) to return to Florence. Having arrived, therefore, before attempting any other thing, he painted for the above-named M. Alamanno Salviati a very beautiful picture of Our Lady, which he executed in a room in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore that was occupied by Francesco dal Prato, who at that time, from being a goldsmith and a master of tausia, had set himself to casting little figures in bronze and to painting, with much profit and honour. In that same place, then, which that master held as the official in charge of the woodwork of the Office of Works, Francesco made portraits of his friend Piero di Marcone and of Avveduto del Cegia, the dresser of minever-furs, who was also much his friend; which Avveduto, besides many other things by the hand of Francesco that he possesses, has a portrait of Francesco himself, executed in oils with his own hand, and very lifelike.
(After the fresco by Francesco Salviati [Francesco de' Rossi]. Florence: Bargello)
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The above-mentioned picture of Our Lady, being, after it was finished, in the shop of the wood-carver Tasso, who was then architect of the Palace, was seen by many persons and vastly extolled; but what caused it even more to be considered a rare picture was that Tasso, who was accustomed to censure almost everything, praised it to the skies. And, what was more, he said to M. Pier Francesco, the majordomo, that it would be an excellent thing for the Duke to give Francesco some work of importance to execute; whereupon M. Pier Francesco and Cristofano Rinieri, who had the ear of the Duke, played their part in such a way, that M. Alamanno spoke to his Excellency, saying to him that Francesco desired to be commissioned to paint the Hall of Audience, which is in front of the Chapel of the Ducal Palace, and that he cared [Pg 174] nothing about payment; and the Duke was content that this should be granted to him. Whereupon Francesco, having made small designs of the Triumph of Furius Camillus and of many stories of his life, set himself to contrive the division of that hall according to the spaces left by the windows and doors, some of which are high and some low; and there was no little difficulty in making that division in such a way that it might be well-ordered and might not disturb the sequence of the stories. In the wall where there is the door by which one enters into the hall, there were two large spaces, divided by the door. Opposite to that, where there are the three windows that look out over the Piazza, there were four spaces, but not wider than about three braccia each. In the end-wall that is on the right hand as one enters, wherein are two windows that likewise look out on the Piazza, but in another direction, there were three similar spaces, each about three braccia wide; and in the end-wall that is on the left hand, opposite to the other, what with the marble door that leads into the chapel, and a window with a grating of bronze, there remained only one space large enough to contain a work of importance. On the wall of the chapel, then—within an ornament of Corinthian columns that support an architrave, which has below it a recess, wherein hang two very rich festoons, and two pendants of various fruits, counterfeited very well, while upon it sits a naked little boy who is holding the Ducal arms, namely, those of the Houses of Medici and Toledo—he painted two scenes; on the right hand Camillus, who is commanding that the schoolmaster shall be given up to the vengeance of his young scholars, and on the other the same Camillus, while the army is in combat and fire is burning the stockades and tents of the camp, is routing the Gauls. And beside that, where the same range of pilasters continues, he painted a figure of Opportunity, large as life, who has seized Fortune by the locks, and some devices of his Excellency, with many ornaments executed with marvellous grace. On the main wall, where there are two great spaces divided by the principal door, he painted two large and very beautiful scenes. In the first are the Gauls, who, weighing the gold of the tribute, add to it a sword, to the end that the weight may be the greater, and Camillus, full of rage, delivers himself from the tribute by [Pg 175] force of arms; which scene is very beautiful, and crowded with figures, landscapes, antiquities, and vases counterfeited very well and in various manners in imitation of gold and silver. In the other scene, beside the first, is Camillus in the triumphal chariot, drawn by four horses; and on high is Fame, who is crowning him. Before the chariot are priests very richly apparelled, with the statue of the Goddess Juno, and holding vases in their hands, and with some trophies and spoils of great beauty. About the chariot are innumerable prisoners in various attitudes, and behind it the soldiers of the army in their armour, among whom Francesco made a portrait of himself, which is so good that it seems as if alive. In the distance, where the triumphal procession is passing, is a very beautiful picture of Rome, and above the door is a figure of Peace in chiaroscuro, who is burning the arms, with some prisoners; all which was executed by Francesco with such diligence and study, that there is no more beautiful work to be seen.
On the wall towards the west he painted in a niche in one of the larger spaces, in the centre, a Mars in armour, and below that a nude figure representing a Gaul, with a crest on the head similar to that of a cock; and in another niche a Diana with a skin about her waist, who is drawing an arrow from her quiver, with a dog. In the two corners next the other two walls are two figures of Time, one adjusting weights in a balance, and the other tempering the liquid in two vases by pouring one into the other. On the last wall, which is opposite to the chapel and faces towards the north, in a corner on the right hand, is the Sun figured in the manner wherein the Egyptians represent him, and in the other corner the Moon in the same manner. In the middle is Favour, represented as a nude young man on the summit of the wheel, with Envy, Hatred, and Malice on one side, and on the other side Honours, Pleasure, and all the other things described by Lucian. Above the windows is a frieze all full of most beautiful nudes, as large as life, and in various forms and attitudes; with some scenes likewise from the life of Camillus. And opposite to the Peace that is burning the arms is the River Arno, who, holding a most abundant horn of plenty, raises with one hand a [Pg 176] curtain and reveals Florence and the greatness of her Pontiffs and the heroes of the House of Medici. He painted there, besides all that, a base that runs round below those scenes, and niches with some terminal figures of women that support festoons; and in the centre are certain ovals with scenes of people adorning a Sphinx and the River Arno.
Francesco put into the execution of that work all the diligence and study that are possible; and, although he had many contradictions, he carried it to a happy conclusion, desiring to leave in his native city a work worthy of himself and of so great a Prince. Francesco was by nature melancholy, and for the most part he did not care to have anyone about him when he was at work. But nevertheless, when he first began that undertaking, almost doing violence to his nature and affecting an open heart, with great cordiality he allowed Tasso and others of his friends, who had done him some service, to stand and watch him at work, showing them every courtesy that he was able. But when he had gained a footing at Court, as the saying goes, and it seemed to him that he was in good favour, returning to his choleric and biting nature, he paid them no attention. Nay, what was worse, he used the most bitter words according to his wont (which served as an excuse to his adversaries), censuring and decrying the works of others, and praising himself and his own works to the skies. These methods, which displeased most people and likewise certain craftsmen, brought upon him such odium, that Tasso and many others, who from being his friends had become his enemies, began to give him cause for thought and for action. For, although they praised the excellence of the art that was in him, and the facility and rapidity with which he executed his works so well and with such unity, they were not at a loss, on the other hand, for something to censure. And since, if they had allowed him to gain a firm footing and to settle his affairs, they would not have been able afterwards to hinder or hurt him, they began in good time to give him trouble and to molest him. Whereupon many of the craftsmen and others, banding themselves together and forming a faction, began to disseminate among the people of importance a rumour that Salviati's work was not succeeding, and that he was labouring by mere skill of hand, and devoting no study to anything [Pg 177] that he did. In which, in truth, they accused him wrongly, for, although he never toiled over the execution of his works, as they themselves did, yet that did not mean that he did not study them and that his works had not infinite grace and invention, or that they were not carried out excellently well. Not being able to surpass his excellence with their works, those adversaries wished to overwhelm it with such words and reproaches; but in the end truth and excellence have too much force. At first Francesco made light of such rumours, but later, perceiving that they were growing beyond all reason, he complained of it many times to the Duke. But, since it began to be seen that the Duke, to all appearance, was not showing him such favours as he would have liked, and it seemed that his Excellency cared nothing for those complaints, Francesco began to fall from his position in such a manner, that his adversaries, taking courage from that, sent forth a rumour that his scenes in the hall were to be thrown to the ground, because they did not give satisfaction and had in them no particle of excellence. All these calumnies, which were pressed against him with incredible envy and malice by his adversaries, had reduced Francesco to such a state, that, if it had not been for the goodness of Messer Lelio Torelli, Messer Pasquino Bertini, and others of his friends, he would have retreated before them, which was exactly what they desired. But the above-named friends, exhorting him continually to finish the work of the hall and others that he had in hand, restrained him, even as was done by many other friends not in Florence, to whom he wrote of these persecutions. And Giorgio Vasari, among others, answering a letter that Salviati wrote to him on the matter, exhorted him always to have patience, because excellence is refined by persecution as gold by fire; adding that a time was about to come when his art and his genius would be recognized, and that he should complain of no one but himself, in that he did not yet know men's humours, and how the people and the craftsmen of his own country were made. Thus, notwithstanding all these contradictions and persecutions that poor Francesco suffered, he finished that hall—namely, the work that he had undertaken to execute in fresco on the walls, for the reason that on the ceiling, or rather, soffit, there was no need for him to do any painting, [Pg 178] since it was so richly carved and all overlaid with gold, that among works of that kind there is none more beautiful to be seen. And as a finish to the whole the Duke caused two new windows of glass to be made, with his devices and arms and those of Charles V; and nothing could be better in that kind of work than the manner in which they were executed by Battista del Borro, an Aretine painter excellent in that field of art.
After that, Francesco painted for his Excellency the ceiling of the hall where he dines in winter, with many devices and little figures in distemper; and a most beautiful study which opens out over the Green Chamber. He made portraits, likewise, of some of the Duke's children; and one year, for the Carnival, he executed in the Great Hall the scenery and prospect-view for a comedy that was performed, and that with such beauty and in a manner so different from those that had been done in Florence up to that time, that they were judged to be superior to them all. Nor is this to be marvelled at, since it is very certain that Francesco was always in all his works full of judgment, and well-varied and fertile in invention, and, what is more, he had a perfect knowledge of design, and had a more beautiful manner than any other painter in Florence at that time, and handled colours with great skill and delicacy. He also made a head, or rather, a portrait, of Signor Giovanni de' Medici, the father of Duke Cosimo, which was very beautiful; and it is now in the guardaroba of the same Lord Duke. For Cristofano Rinieri, who was much his friend, he painted a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, which is now in the Udienza della Decima. For Ridolfo Landi he executed a picture of Charity, which could not be more lovely than it is; and for Simone Corsi, likewise, he painted a picture of Our Lady, which was much extolled. For M. Donato Acciaiuoli, a knight of Rhodes, with whom he always maintained a particular intimacy, he executed certain little pictures that are very beautiful. And he also painted in an altar-piece Christ showing to S. Thomas, who would not believe that He had newly risen from the dead, the marks of the blows and wounds that He had received from the Jews; which altar-piece was taken by Tommaso Guadagni into France, and placed in the Chapel of the Florentines in a church at Lyons.
[Pg 179] Francesco also depicted at the request of the above-named Cristofano Rinieri and of Maestro Giovanni Rosto, the Flemish master of tapestry, the whole story of Tarquinius and the Roman Lucretia in many cartoons, which, being afterwards put into execution in tapestries woven in silk, floss-silk, and gold, proved to be a marvellous work. Which hearing, the Duke, who was at that time having similar tapestries, all in silk and gold, made in Florence by the same Maestro Giovanni for the Sala de' Dugento, and had caused cartoons with the stories of the Hebrew Joseph to be executed by Bronzino and Pontormo, as has been related, commanded that Francesco also should make a cartoon, which was that with the interpretation of the dream of the seven fat and seven lean kine. Into that cartoon Francesco put all the diligence that could possibly be devoted to such a work, and that is required for pictures that are to be woven; for there must be fantastic inventions and variety of composition in the figures, and these must stand out one from another, so that they may have strong relief, and they must come out bright in colouring and rich in the costumes and vestments. That piece of tapestry and the others having turned out well, his Excellency resolved to establish the art in Florence, and caused it to be taught to some boys, who, having grown to be men, are now executing most excellent works for the Duke.
Francesco also executed a most beautiful picture of Our Lady, likewise in oils, which is now in the chamber of Messer Alessandro, the son of M. Ottaviano de' Medici. For the above-named M. Pasquino Bertini he painted on canvas yet another picture of Our Lady, with Christ and S. John as little children, who are smiling over a parrot that they have in their hands; which was a very pleasing and fanciful work. And for the same man he made a most beautiful design of a Crucifix, about one braccio high, with a Magdalene at the foot, in a manner so new and so pleasing that it is a marvel; which design M. Salvestro Bertini lent to Girolamo Razzi, his very dear friend, who is now Don Silvano, and two pictures were painted from it by Carlo of Loro, who has since executed many others, which are dispersed about Florence.
Giovanni and Piero d'Agostino Dini had erected in S. Croce, on the right hand as one enters by the central door, a very rich chapel of grey [Pg 180] sandstone and a tomb for Agostino and others of their family; and they gave the commission for the altar-piece of that chapel to Francesco, who painted in it Christ taken down from the Cross by Joseph of Arimathæa and Nicodemus, and at the foot the Madonna in a swoon, with Mary Magdalene, S. John, and the other Maries. That altar-piece was executed by Francesco with so much art and study, that not only the nude Christ is very beautiful, but all the other figures likewise are well disposed and coloured with relief and force; and although at first the picture was censured by Francesco's adversaries, nevertheless it won him a great name with men in general, and those who have painted others after him out of emulation have not surpassed him. The same Francesco, before he departed from Florence, painted the portrait of the above-mentioned M. Lelio Torelli, and some other works of no great importance, of which I know not the particulars. But, among other things, he brought to completion a design of the Conversion of S. Paul that he had drawn long before in Rome, which is very beautiful; and he had it engraved on copper in Florence by Enea Vico of Parma, and the Duke was content to retain him in Florence until that should be done, with his usual salary and allowances. During that time, which was in the year 1548, Giorgio Vasari being at Rimini in order to execute in fresco and in oils the works of which we have spoken in another place, Francesco wrote him a long letter, informing him in exact detail how his affairs were passing in Florence, and, in particular, that he had made a design for the principal chapel of S. Lorenzo, which was to be painted by order of the Lord Duke, but that with regard to that work infinite mischief had been done against him with his Excellency, and, among other things, that he held it almost as certain that M. Pier Francesco, the majordomo, had not presented his design, so that the work had been allotted to Pontormo. And finally he said that for these reasons he was returning to Rome, much dissatisfied with the men and the craftsmen of his native country.
(After the painting by Francesco Salviati [Francesco de' Rossi]. Florence: S. Croce, the Refectory)
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Having thus returned to Rome, he bought a house near the Palace of Cardinal Farnese, and, while he was occupying himself with executing some works of no great importance, he received from that Cardinal, through M. Annibale Caro and Don Giulio Clovio, the commission to [Pg 181] paint the Chapel of the Palace of S. Giorgio, in which he executed an ornament of most beautiful compartments in stucco, and a vaulting in fresco with stories of S. Laurence and many figures, full of grace, and on a panel of stone, in oils, the Nativity of Christ, introducing into that work, which was very beautiful, the portrait of the above-named Cardinal. Then, having another work allotted to him in the above-mentioned Company of the Misericordia (where Jacopo del Conte had painted the Preaching and the Baptism of S. John, in which, although he had not surpassed Francesco, he had acquitted himself very well, and where some other works had been executed by the Venetian Battista Franco and by Pirro Ligorio), Francesco painted, on that part that is exactly beside his own picture of the Visitation, the Nativity of S. John, which, although he executed it excellently well, was nevertheless not equal to the first. At the head of that Company, likewise, he painted for M. Bartolommeo Bussotti two very beautiful figures in fresco—S. Andrew and S. Bartholomew, the Apostles—which are one on either side of the altar-piece, wherein is a Deposition from the Cross by the hand of the same Jacopo del Conte, which is a very good picture and the best work that he had ever done up to that time.
In the year 1550, Julius III having been elected Supreme Pontiff, Francesco painted some very beautiful scenes in chiaroscuro for the arch that was erected above the steps of S. Pietro, among the festive preparations for the coronation. And then, in the same year, a sepulchre with many steps and ranges of columns having been made in the Minerva by the Company of the Sacrament, Francesco painted upon it some scenes and figures in terretta, which were held to be very beautiful. In a chapel of S. Lorenzo in Damaso he executed two Angels in fresco that are holding a canopy, the design of one of which is in our book. In the refectory of S. Salvatore del Lauro at Monte Giordano, on the principal wall, he painted in fresco, with a great number of figures, the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, at which Jesus Christ turned water into wine; and at the sides some Saints, with Pope Eugenius IV, who belonged to that Order, and other founders. Above the door of that refectory, on the inner side, he painted a picture in oils of S. George killing the Dragon, and he executed [Pg 182] that whole work with much mastery, finish, and charm of colouring. About the same time he sent to Florence, for M. Alamanno Salviati, a large picture in which are Adam and Eve beside the Tree of Life in the Earthly Paradise, eating the Forbidden Fruit, which is a very beautiful work. For Signor Ranuccio, Cardinal Sant'Agnolo, of the House of Farnese, Francesco painted with most beautiful fantasy two walls in the hall that is in front of the great hall in the Farnese Palace. On one wall he depicted Signor Ranuccio the Elder receiving from Eugenius IV his baton as Captain-General of Holy Church, with some Virtues, and on the other Pope Paul III, of the Farnese family, who is giving the baton of the Church to Signor Pier Luigi, while there is seen approaching from a distance the Emperor Charles V, accompanied by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and by other lords portrayed from life; and on that wall, besides the things described above and many others, he painted a Fame and a number of other figures, which are executed very well. It is true, indeed, that the work received its final completion, not from him, but from Taddeo Zucchero of Sant'Agnolo, as will be related in the proper place. He gave completion and proportion to the Chapel of the Popolo, which Fra Sebastiano Viniziano had formerly begun for Agostino Chigi, but had not finished; and Francesco finished it, as has been described in the Life of Fra Sebastiano. For Cardinal Riccio of Montepulciano he painted a most beautiful hall in his Palace in the Strada Giulia, where he executed in fresco various pictures with many stories of David; and, among others, one of Bathsheba bathing herself in a bath, with many other women, while David stands gazing at her, is a scene very well composed and full of grace, and as rich in invention as any other that there is to be seen. In another picture is the Death of Uriah, in a third the Ark, before which go many musical instruments, and finally, after some others, a battle that is being fought between David and his enemies, very well composed. And, to put it briefly, the work of that hall is all full of grace, of most beautiful fantasies, and of many fanciful and ingenious inventions; the distribution of the parts is done with much consideration, and the colouring is very pleasing. To tell the truth, Francesco, feeling himself bold and fertile in invention, and having a hand obedient to his brain, would [Pg 183] have liked always to have on his hands works large and out of the ordinary. And for no other reason was he strange in his dealings with his friends, save only for this, that, being variable and in certain things not very stable, what pleased him one day he hated the next; and he did few works of importance without having in the end to contend about the price, on which account he was avoided by many.
After these works, Andrea Tassini, having to send a painter to the King of France, in the year 1554 sought out Giorgio Vasari, but in vain, for he said that not for any salary, however great, or promises, or expectations, would he leave the service of his lord, Duke Cosimo; and finally Andrea came to terms with Francesco and took him to France, undertaking to recompense him in Rome if he were not satisfied in France. Before Francesco departed from Rome, as if he thought that he would never return, he sold his house, his furniture, and every other thing, excepting the offices that he held. But the venture did not succeed as he had expected, for the reason that, on arriving in Paris, where he was received kindly and with many courtesies by M. Francesco Primaticcio, painter and architect to the King, and Abbot of S. Martin, he was straightway recognized, so it is said, as the strange sort of man that he was, for he saw no work either by Rosso or by any other master that he did not censure either openly or in some subtle way. Everyone therefore expecting some great work from him, he was set by the Cardinal of Lorraine, who had sent for him, to execute some pictures in his Palace at Dampierre. Whereupon, after making many designs, finally he set his hand to the work, and executed some pictures with scenes in fresco over the cornices of chimney-pieces, and a little study full of scenes, which are said to have shown great mastery; but, whatever may have been the reason, these works did not win him much praise. Besides that, Francesco was never much liked there, because he had a nature altogether opposed to that of the men of that country, where, even as those merry and jovial men are liked and held dear who live a free life and take part gladly in assemblies and banquets, so those are, I do not say shunned, but less liked and welcomed, who are by nature, as Francesco was, melancholy, abstinent, sickly, and cross-grained. For some things he might have [Pg 184] deserved to be excused, since his habit of body would not allow him to mix himself up with banquets and with eating and drinking too much, if only he could have been more agreeable in conversation. And, what was worse, whereas it was his duty, according to the custom of that country and that Court, to show himself and pay court to others, he would have liked, and thought that he deserved, to be himself courted by everyone.
In the end, the King being occupied with matters of war, and likewise the Cardinal, and himself being disappointed of his salary and promised benefits, Francesco, after having been there twenty months, resolved to return to Italy. And so he made his way to Milan, where he was courteously received by the Chevalier Leone Aretino in the house that he has built for himself, very ornate and all filled with statues ancient and modern, and with figures cast in gesso from rare works, as will be told in another place; and after having stayed there a fortnight and rested himself, he went on to Florence. There he found Giorgio Vasari and told him how well he had done not to go to France, giving him an account that would have driven the desire to go there, no matter how great, out of anyone. From Florence he returned to Rome, and there entered an action against those who had guaranteed his allowances from the Cardinal of Lorraine, and compelled them to pay him in full; and when he had received the money he bought some offices, in addition to others that he held before, with a firm resolve to look after his own life, knowing that he was not in good health and that he had wholly ruined his constitution. Notwithstanding that, he would have liked to be employed in great works; but in this he did not succeed so readily, and he occupied himself for a time with executing pictures and portraits.
Pope Paul IV having died, Pius was elected, likewise the Fourth of that name, who, much delighting in building, availed himself of Pirro Ligorio in matters of architecture; and his Holiness ordained that Cardinals Alessandro Farnese and Emulio should cause the Great Hall, called the Hall of Kings, to be finished by Daniello da Volterra, who had begun it. That very reverend Farnese did his utmost to obtain the half of that work for Francesco, and in consequence there was a long contention [Pg 185] between Daniello and Francesco, particularly because Michelagnolo Buonarroti exerted himself in favour of Daniello, and for a time they arrived at no conclusion. Meanwhile, Vasari having gone with Cardinal Giovanni de' Medici, the son of Duke Cosimo, to Rome, Francesco related to him his many difficulties, and in particular that in which, for the reasons just given, he then found himself; and Giorgio, who much loved the excellence of the man, showed him that up to that time he had managed his affairs very badly, and that for the future he should let him (Vasari) manage them, for he would so contrive that in one way or another the half of that Hall of Kings would fall to him to execute, which Daniello was not able to finish by himself, being a slow and irresolute person, and almost certainly not as able and versatile as Francesco. Matters standing thus, and nothing more being done for the moment, not many days afterwards Giorgio himself was requested by the Pope to paint part of that Hall, but he answered that he had one three times larger to paint in the Palace of his master, Duke Cosimo, and, in addition, that he had been so badly treated by Pope Julius III, for whom he had executed many labours in the Vigna on the Monte and elsewhere, that he no longer knew what to expect from certain kinds of men; adding that he had painted for the Palace of the same Pontiff, without being paid, an altar-piece of Christ calling Peter and Andrew from their nets on the Sea of Tiberias (which had been taken away by Pope Paul IV from a chapel that Julius had built over the corridor of the Belvedere, and which was to be sent to Milan), and that his Holiness should cause it to be either paid for or restored to him. To which the Pope said in answer—and whether it was true or not, I do not know—that he knew nothing of that altar-piece, but wished to see it; whereupon it was sent for, and, after his Holiness had seen it, but in a bad light, he was content that it should be restored.
The discussion about the Hall being then resumed, Giorgio told the Pope frankly that Francesco was the first and best painter in Rome, that his Holiness would do well to employ him, since no one could serve him better, and that, although Buonarroti and the Cardinal of Carpi favoured Daniello, they did so more from the motive of friendship, and perhaps [Pg 186] out of animosity, than for any other reason. But to return to the altar-piece; Giorgio had no sooner left the Pope than he sent it to the house of Francesco, who afterwards had it taken to Arezzo, where, as we have related in another place, it has been deposited by Vasari with a rich, costly, and handsome ornament, in the Pieve of that city. The affairs of the Hall of Kings remaining in the condition that has been described above, when Duke Cosimo departed from Siena in order to go to Rome, Vasari, who had gone as far as that with his Excellency, recommended Salviati warmly to him, beseeching him to make interest on his behalf with the Pope, and to Francesco he wrote as to all that he was to do when the Duke had arrived in Rome. In all which Francesco departed in no way from the advice given him by Giorgio, for he went to do reverence to the Duke, and was welcomed by his Excellency with an aspect full of kindness, and shortly afterwards so much was said to his Holiness on his behalf, that the half of the above-mentioned Hall was allotted to him. Setting his hand to the work, before doing any other thing he threw to the ground a scene that had been begun by Daniello; on which account there were afterwards many contentions between them. The Pontiff was served in matters of architecture, as has been already related, by Pirro Ligorio, who at first had much favoured Francesco, and would have continued to favour him; but Francesco paying no more attention either to Pirro or to any other after he had begun to work, this was the reason that Ligorio, from being his friend, became in a certain sort his adversary, and of this very manifest signs were seen, for Pirro began to say to the Pope that since there were many young painters of ability in Rome, and he wished to have that Hall off his hands, it would be a good thing to allot one scene to each of them, and thus to see it finished once and for all. These proceedings of Pirro's, to which it was evident that the Pope was favourable, so displeased Francesco, that in great disdain he retired from the work and all the contentions, considering that he was held in little estimation. And so, mounting his horse and not saying a word to anyone, he went off to Florence, where, like the strange creature that he was, without giving a thought to any of the friends that he had there, he took up his abode in an inn, as if he did not belong to the place and [Pg 187] had no acquaintance there nor anyone who cared for him in any way. Afterwards, having kissed the hands of the Duke, he was received with such kindness, that he might well have looked for some good result, if only he had been different in nature and had adhered to the advice of Giorgio, who urged him to sell the offices that he had in Rome and to settle in Florence, so as to enjoy his native place with his friends and to avoid the danger of losing, together with his life, all the fruits of his toil and grievous labours. But Francesco, moved by sensitiveness and anger, and by his desire to avenge himself, resolved that he would at all costs return to Rome in a few days. Meanwhile, moving from that inn at the entreaty of his friends, he retired to the house of M. Marco Finale, the Prior of S. Apostolo, where he executed a Pietà in colours on cloth of silver for M. Jacopo Salviati, as it were to pass the time, with the Madonna and the other Maries, which was a very beautiful work. He renewed in colours a medallion with the Ducal arms, which he had made on a former occasion and placed over a door in the Palace of Messer Alamanno. And for the above-named M. Jacopo he made a most beautiful book of bizarre costumes and various headdresses of men and horses for masquerades, for which he received innumerable courtesies from the liberality of that lord, who lamented the strange and eccentric nature of Francesco, whom he was never able to attract into his house on this occasion, as he had done at other times.
Finally, Francesco being about to set out for Rome, Giorgio, as his friend, reminded him that, being rich, advanced in years, weak in health, and little fitted for more fatigues, he should think of living in peace and shun strife and contention, which he would have been able to do with ease, having acquired honour and property in plenty, if he had not been too avaricious and desirous of gain. He exhorted him, in addition, to sell the greater part of the offices that he possessed and to arrange his affairs in such a manner, that in any emergency or any misfortune that might happen he might be able to remember his friends and those who had given him faithful and loving service. Francesco promised that he would do right both in word and deed, and confessed that Giorgio had spoken the truth; but, as happens to most of the men who think that [Pg 188] time will last for ever, he did nothing more in the matter. Having arrived in Rome, Francesco found that Cardinal Emulio had distributed the scenes of the Hall, giving two of them to Taddeo Zucchero of Sant' Agnolo, one to Livio da Forlì, another to Orazio da Bologna, yet another to Girolamo da Sermoneta, and the rest to others. Which being reported by Francesco to Giorgio, whom he asked whether it would be well for him to continue the work that he had begun, he received the answer that it would be a good thing, after making so many little designs and large cartoons, to finish at least one picture, notwithstanding that the greater part of the work had been allotted to so many others, all much inferior to him, and that he should make an effort to approach as near as possible in his work to the pictures by Buonarroti on the walls and vaulting of the Sistine Chapel, and to those of the Pauline; for the reason that after his work was seen, the others would be thrown to the ground, and all, to his great glory, would be allotted to him. And Giorgio warned him to give no thought to profit or money, or to any vexation that he might suffer from those in charge of the work, telling him that the honour was much more important than any other thing. Of all these letters and of the replies, the originals, as well as copies, are among those that we ourselves treasure in memory of so great a man, who was our dearest friend, and among those by our own hand that must have been found among his possessions.
After these things Francesco was living in an angry mood, in no way certain as to what he wished to do, afflicted in mind, feeble in body, and weakened by everlasting medicines, when finally he fell ill with the illness of death, which carried him in a short time to the last extremity, without having given him time to make a complete disposal of his possessions. To a disciple called Annibale, the son of Nanni di Baccio Bigio, he left sixty crowns a year on the Monte delle Farine, fourteen pictures, and all his designs and other art possessions. The rest of his property he left to Suor Gabriella, his sister, a nun, although I understand that she did not receive, as the saying goes, even the "cord of the sack." However, there must have come into her hands a picture painted on cloth of silver, with embroidery around it, which he had executed for [Pg 189] the King of Portugal or of Poland, whichever it was, and left to her to the end that she might keep it in memory of him. All his other possessions, such as the offices that he had bought after unspeakable fatigues, all were lost.
Francesco died on S. Martin's Day, the 11th of November, in the year 1563, and was buried in S. Gieronimo, a church near the house where he lived. The death of Francesco was a very great loss to art, seeing that, although he was fifty-four years of age and weak in health, he was continually studying and working, cost what it might; and at the very last he had set himself to work in mosaic. It is evident that he was capricious, and would have liked to do many things; and if he had found a Prince who could have recognized his humour and could have given him works after his fancy, he would have achieved marvellous things, for, as we have said, he was rich, fertile, and most exuberant in every kind of invention, and a master in every field of painting. He gave great beauty and grace to every kind of head, and he understood the nude as well as any other painter of his time. He had a very graceful and delicate manner in painting draperies, arranging them in such a way that the nude could always be perceived in the parts where that was required, and clothing his figures in new fashions of dress; and he showed fancy and variety in headdresses, foot-wear, and every other kind of ornament. He handled colours in oils, in distemper, and in fresco in such a manner, that it may be affirmed that he was one of the most able, resolute, bold, and diligent craftsmen of our age, and to this we, who associated with him for so many years, are well able to bear testimony. And although there was always between us a certain proper emulation, by reason of the desire that good craftsmen have to surpass one another, none the less, with regard to the claims of friendship, there was never any lack of love and affection between us, although each of us worked in competition in the most famous places in Italy, as may be seen from a vast number of letters that are in my possession, as I have said, written by the hand of Francesco. Salviati was affectionate by nature, but suspicious, acute, subtle, and penetrative, and yet ready to believe anything; and when he set himself to speak of some of the men of our arts, [Pg 190] either in jest or in earnest, he was likely to give offence, and at times touched them to the quick. It pleased him to mix with men of learning and great persons, and he always held plebeian craftsmen in detestation, even though they might be able in some field of art. He avoided such persons as always speak evil, and when the conversation turned on them he would tear them to pieces without mercy. But most of all he abhorred the knaveries that craftsmen sometimes commit, of which, having been in France, and having heard something of them, he was only too well able to speak. At times, in order to be less weighed down by his melancholy, he used to mingle with his friends and force himself to be cheerful. But in the end his strange nature, so irresolute, suspicious, and solitary, did harm to no one but himself.
His dearest friend was Manno, a Florentine goldsmith in Rome, a man rare in his profession and excellent in character and goodness of heart. Manno is burdened with a family, and if Francesco had been able to dispose of his property, and had not spent all the fruits of his labours on offices, only to leave them to the Pope, he would have left a great part of them to that worthy man and excellent craftsman. Very dear to him, likewise, was the above-mentioned Avveduto dell'Avveduto, a dresser of minever-furs, who was the most loving and most faithful friend that Francesco ever had; and if he had been in Rome when Francesco died, Salviati would probably have arranged certain of his affairs with better judgment than he did.
MEDAL OF POPE CLEMENT VII
(After Francesco dal Prato. London: British Museum)
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His disciple, also, was the Spaniard Roviale, who executed many works in company with him, and by himself an altar-piece containing the Conversion of S. Paul for the Church of S. Spirito in Rome. And Salviati was very well disposed towards Francesco di Girolamo dal Prato, in company with whom, as has been related above, he studied design while still a child; which Francesco was a man of most beautiful genius, and drew better than any other goldsmith of his time; and he was not inferior to his father Girolamo, who executed every kind of work with plates of silver better than any of his rivals. It is said that Girolamo succeeded with ease in any kind of work; thus, having beaten the plate of silver with certain hammers, he placed it on a piece of plank, and [Pg 191] between the two a layer of wax, tallow and pitch, producing in that way a material midway between soft and hard, and then, beating it with iron instruments both inwards and outwards, he caused it to come out in whatever shapes he desired—heads, breasts, arms, legs, backs, and any other thing that he wished or was demanded from him by those who caused votive offerings to be made, in order to attach them to those holy images that were to be found in any place where they had received favours or had been heard in their prayers. Francesco, then, not attending only to the making of votive offerings, as his father did, worked also at tausia and at inlaying steel with gold and silver after the manner of damascening, making foliage, figures, and any other kind of work that he wished; in which manner of inlaid work he made a complete suit of armour for a foot-soldier, of great beauty, for Duke Alessandro de' Medici. Among many medals that the same man made, those were by his hand, and very beautiful, which were placed in the foundations of the fortifications at the Porta a Faenza, with the head of the above-named Duke Alessandro; together with others in which there was on one side the head of Pope Clement VII, and on the other a nude Christ with the scourges of His Passion. Francesco also delighted in the work of sculpture, and cast some little figures in bronze, full of grace, which came into the possession of Duke Alessandro. And the same master polished and carried to great perfection four similar figures, made by Baccio Bandinelli—namely, a Leda, a Venus, a Hercules, and an Apollo—which were given to the same Duke. Being dissatisfied, then, with the goldsmith's craft, and not being able to give his attention to sculpture, which calls for too many resources, Francesco, having a good knowledge of design, devoted himself to painting; and since he was a person who mixed little with others, and did not care to have it known more than was inevitable that he was giving his attention to painting, he executed many works by himself. Meanwhile, as was related at the beginning, Francesco Salviati came to Florence, and he worked at the picture for M. Alamanno in the rooms that the other Francesco occupied in the Office of Works of S. Maria del Fiore; wherefore with that opportunity, seeing Salviati's method of working, he applied himself to painting with much more zeal [Pg 192] than he had done up to that time, and executed a very beautiful picture of the Conversion of S. Paul, which is now in the possession of Guglielmo del Tovaglia. And after that, in a picture of the same size, he painted the Serpents raining down on the Hebrew people, and in another he painted Jesus Christ delivering the Holy Fathers from the Limbo of Hell; which two last-named pictures, both very beautiful, now belong to Filippo Spini, a gentleman who much delights in our arts. Besides many other little works that Francesco dal Prato executed, he drew much and well, as may be seen from some designs by his hand that are in our book of drawings. He died in the year 1562, and his death much grieved the whole Academy, because, besides his having been an able master in art, there was never a more excellent man than Francesco.
THE RECONCILIATION OF POPE ALEXANDER III AND FREDERICK BARBAROSSA
(After the fresco by Giuseppe del Salviati [Giuseppe Porta]. Rome: The Vatican, Sala Regia)
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Another pupil of Francesco Salviati was Giuseppe Porta of Castelnuovo della Garfagnana, who, out of respect for his master, was also called Giuseppe Salviati. This Giuseppe, having been taken to Rome as a boy, in the year 1535, by an uncle, the secretary of Monsignor Onofrio Bartolini, Archbishop of Pisa, was placed with Salviati, under whom he learned in a short time not only to draw very finely, but also to use colour excellently well. He then went with his master to Venice, where he formed so many connections with noble persons, that, being left there by Francesco, he made up his mind that he would choose that city as his home; and so, having taken a wife there, he has lived there ever since, and he has worked in few other places but Venice. He painted long ago the façade of the house of the Loredani on the Campo di S. Stefano, with scenes very pleasingly coloured in fresco and executed in a beautiful manner. He painted, likewise, that of the Bernardi at S. Polo, and another behind S. Rocco, which is a very good work. Three other façades he has painted in chiaroscuro, very large and covered with various scenes—one at S. Moisè, the second at S. Cassiano, and the third at S. Maria Zebenigo. He has also painted in fresco, at a place called Treville, near Treviso, the whole of the Palace of the Priuli, a rich and vast building, both within and without; of which building there will be a long account in the Life of Sansovino; and at Pieve di Sacco he has painted a very beautiful façade. At Bagnuolo, a seat of the Friars of S. Spirito at [Pg 193] Venice, he has executed an altar-piece in oils; and for the same fathers he has painted the ceiling, or rather, soffit of the refectory in the Convent of S. Spirito, with a number of compartments filled with painted pictures, and a most beautiful Last Supper on the principal wall. For the Hall of the Doge, in the Palace of S. Marco, he has painted the Sibyls, the Prophets, the Cardinal Virtues, and Christ with the Maries, which have won him vast praise; and in the above-mentioned Library of S. Marco he painted two large scenes, in competition with the other painters of Venice of whom mention has been made above. Being summoned to Rome by Cardinal Emulio after the death of Francesco, he finished one of the larger scenes that are in the Hall of Kings, and began another; and then, Pope Pius IV having died, he returned to Venice, where the Signoria commissioned him to paint a ceiling with pictures in oils, which is at the head of the new staircase in the Palace.
The same master has painted six very beautiful altar-pieces in oils, one of which is on the altar of the Madonna in S. Francesco della Vigna, the second on the high-altar in the Church of the Servites, the third is with the Friars Minors, the fourth in the Madonna dell'Orto, the fifth at S. Zaccheria, and the sixth at S. Moisè; and he has painted two at Murano, which are beautiful and executed with much diligence and in a lovely manner. But of this Giuseppe, who is still alive and is becoming a very excellent master, I say no more for the present, save that, in addition to his painting, he devotes much study to geometry. By his hand is the Volute of the Ionic Capital that is to be seen in print at the present day, showing how it should be turned after the ancient measure; and there is to appear soon a work that he has composed on the subject of geometry.
A disciple of Francesco, also, was one Domenico Romano, who was of great assistance to him in the hall that he painted in Florence, and in other works. Domenico engaged himself in the year 1550 to Signor Giuliano Cesarino, and he does not work on his own account.
Daniello, when he was a lad, learned to draw a little from Giovanni Antonio Sodoma, who went at that time to execute certain works in the city of Volterra; and when Sodoma had gone away he made much greater and better proficience under Baldassarre Peruzzi than he had done under the discipline of the other. But to tell the truth, for all that, he achieved no great success at that time, for the reason that in proportion as he devoted great effort and study to seeking to learn, being urged by a strong desire, even so, on the other hand, did his brain and hand fail him. Wherefore in his first works, which he executed at Volterra, there is evidence of very great, nay, infinite labour, but not yet any promise of a grand or beautiful manner, nor any grace, charm, or invention, such as have been seen at an early hour in many others who have been born to be painters, and who, even in their first beginnings, have shown facility, boldness, and some indication of a good manner. His first works, indeed, seem in truth as if done by a melancholic, being full of effort and executed with much patience and expenditure of time.
But let us come to his works, leaving aside those that are not worthy of attention; in his youth he painted in fresco at Volterra the façade of M. Mario Maffei, in chiaroscuro, which gave him a good name and won him much credit. But after he had finished it, perceiving that he had there no competition that might spur him to seek to rise to greater heights, and that there were no works in that city, either ancient or modern, from which he could learn much, he determined at all costs to go to Rome, where he heard that there were not at that time many who were engaged in painting, excepting Perino del Vaga. Before departing, he resolved [Pg 198] that he would take some finished work that might make him known; and so, having painted a canvas in oils of Christ Scourged at the Column, with many figures, to which he devoted all possible diligence, availing himself of models and portraits from life, he took it with him. And, having arrived in Rome, he had not been long there before he contrived by means of friends to show that picture to Cardinal Triulzi, whom it satisfied in such a manner that he not only bought it, but also conceived a very great affection for Daniello; and a short time afterwards he sent him to work in a village without Rome belonging to himself, called Salone, where he had built a very large house, which he was having adorned with fountains, stucco-work, and paintings, and in which at that very time Gian Maria da Milano and others were decorating certain rooms with stucco and grotesques. Arriving there, then, Daniello, both out of emulation and from a desire to serve that lord, from whom he could hope to win much honour and profit, painted various things in many rooms and loggie in company with the others, and in particular executed many grotesques, full of various little figures of women. But the work that proved to be more beautiful than all the rest was a story of Phaëthon, executed in fresco with figures of the size of life, and a very large River God that he painted there, which is a very good figure; and all these works, since the above-named Cardinal went often to see them, and took with him now one and now another of the Cardinals, were the reason that Daniello formed a friendship and bonds of service with many of them.
Afterwards, Perino del Vaga, who at that time was painting the Chapel of M. Agnolo de' Massimi in the Trinita, having need of a young man who might help him, Daniello, desiring to make proficience, and drawn by his promises, went to work with him and assisted him to execute certain things in the work of that chapel, which he carried to completion with much diligence. Now, before the sack of Rome Perino had painted on the vaulting of the Chapel of the Crocifisso in S. Marcello, as has been related, the Creation of Adam and Eve in figures of the size of life, and in much larger figures two Evangelists, S. John and S. Mark, which were not yet completely finished, since the figure of S. John was wanting from the middle upwards; and the men of that Company resolved, when the [Pg 199] affairs of Rome had finally become settled again, that the same Perino should finish the work. But he, having other work to do, made the cartoons and had it finished by Daniello, who completed the S. John that had been left unfinished, painted all by himself the two other Evangelists, S. Luke and S. Matthew, between them two little boys that are holding a candelabrum, and, on the arch of the wall that contains the window, two Angels standing poised on their wings in the act of flight, who are holding in their hands the Mysteries of the Passion of Jesus Christ; and he adorned the arch richly with grotesques and little naked figures of great beauty. In short, he acquitted himself marvellously well in all that work, although he took a considerable time over it.
THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS
(After the fresco by Daniello Ricciarelli. Rome: SS. Trinita dei Monti)
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The same Perino having then caused Daniello to execute a frieze in the hall of the Palace of M. Agnolo Massimi, with many divisions in stucco and other ornaments, and stories of the actions of Fabius Maximus, he bore himself so well, that Signora Elena Orsina, having seen that work and hearing the ability of Daniello much extolled, commissioned him to paint her chapel in the Church of the Trinita in Rome, on the hill, where the Friars of S. Francesco di Paola have their seat. Wherefore Daniello, putting forth all possible effort and diligence, in order to produce a rare work which might make him known as an excellent painter, did not shrink from devoting to it the labour of many years. From the name of that lady, the title given to the chapel being that of the Cross of Christ Our Saviour, the subject chosen was that of the actions of S. Helen; and so in the principal altar-piece Daniello painted Jesus Christ taken down from the Cross by Joseph, Nicodemus, and other disciples, and the Virgin Mary in a swoon, supported on the arms of the Magdalene and the other Maries, in all which he showed very great judgment, and gave proof of very rare ability, for the reason that, besides the composition of the figures, which has a very rich effect, the figure of Christ is very fine and most beautifully foreshortened, with the feet coming forward and the rest backwards. Very beautiful and difficult, likewise, are the foreshortenings in the figures of those who, having removed Him from the Cross, support Him with some bands, standing on some ladders and revealing in certain parts the nude flesh, executed with much grace. Around [Pg 200] that altar-piece he made an ornament in stucco-work of great beauty and variety, full of carvings, with two figures that support the pediment with their heads, while with one hand they hold the capital, and with the other they seek to place the column, which stands at the foot on the base, below the capital to support it; which work is done with extraordinary care. In the arch above the altar-piece he painted two Sibyls in fresco, which are the best figures in the whole work; and those Sibyls are one on either side of the window, which is above the centre of the altar-piece, giving light to the whole chapel. The vaulting of the chapel is divided into four compartments by bizarre, well varied, and beautiful partitions of stucco-work and grotesques made with new fantasies of masks and festoons; and in those compartments are four stories of the Cross and of S. Helen, the mother of Constantine. In the first is the scene when, before the Passion of the Saviour, three Crosses are constructed; in the second, S. Helen commanding certain Hebrews to reveal those Crosses to her; in the third, the Hebrews not consenting to reveal them, she causes to be cast into a well him who knows where they are; and in the fourth he reveals the place where all three are buried. Those four scenes are beautiful beyond belief, and executed with great care. On the side-walls are four other scenes, two to each wall, and each is divided off by the cornice that forms the impost of the arch upon which rests the groined vaulting of the chapel. In one is S. Helen causing the Holy Cross and the two others to be drawn up from a well; and in the second is that of the Saviour healing a sick man. Of the pictures below, in that on the right hand is the same S. Helen recognizing the Cross of Christ because it restores to life a corpse upon which it is laid; to the nude flesh of which corpse Daniello devoted extraordinary pains, searching out all the muscles and seeking to render correctly all the parts of the body, as he also did in those who are placing the Cross upon it, and in the bystanders, who are all struck with amazement by the sight of that miracle. And, in addition, there is a bier of bizarre shape painted with much diligence, with a skeleton embracing it, executed with great care and with beautiful invention. In the other picture, which is opposite to the first, he painted the Emperor Heraclius walking barefoot and in his shirt, and carrying the Cross of Christ through [Pg 201] the gate of Rome, with men, women, and children kneeling, who are adoring it, many lords in his train, and a groom who is holding his horse. Below each scene, forming a kind of base, are two most beautiful women in chiaroscuro, painted in imitation of marble, who appear to be supporting those scenes. And under the first arch, on the front side, he painted on the flat surface, standing upright, two figures as large as life, a S. Francesco di Paola, the head of the Order that administers the above-named church, and a S. Jerome robed as a Cardinal, which are two very good figures, even as are those of the whole work, which Daniello executed in seven years, with incalculable labour and study.
But, since pictures that are executed in that way have always a certain hard and laboured quality, the work is wanting in the grace and facility that give most pleasure to the eye. Wherefore Daniello, himself confessing the fatigue that he had endured in the work, and fearing the fate that did come upon him (namely, that he would be censured), made below the feet of those two Saints, to please himself, and as it were in his own defence, two little scenes of stucco in low-relief, in which he sought to show that, although he worked slowly and with effort, nevertheless, since Michelagnolo Buonarroti and Fra Sebastiano del Piombo were his friends, and he was always imitating their works and observing their precepts, his imitation of those two men should be enough to defend him from the biting words of envious and malignant persons, whose evil nature must perforce be revealed, although they may not think it. In one of these scenes, then, he made many figures of Satyrs that are weighing legs, arms, and other members of figures with a steelyard, in order to put on one side those that are correct in weight and satisfactory, and to give those that are bad to Michelagnolo and Fra Sebastiano, who are holding conference over them; and in the other is Michelagnolo looking at himself in a mirror, the significance of which is clear enough. At two angles of the arch, likewise, on the outer side, he painted two nudes in chiaroscuro, which are of the same excellence as the other figures in that work. When it was all uncovered, which was after a very long time, it was much extolled, and held to be a very beautiful work and a triumph over difficulties, and the painter a most excellent master.
[Pg 202] After that chapel, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese caused him to execute in a room in his Palace—namely, at the corner, under one of those very rich ceilings made under the direction of Maestro Antonio da San Gallo for three large chambers that are in a line—a very beautiful frieze in painting, with a scene full of figures on each wall, the scenes being a very beautiful triumph of Bacchus, a Hunt, and others of that kind. These much pleased the Cardinal, who caused him to paint, in addition, in several parts of that frieze, the Unicorn in various forms in the lap of a Virgin, which is the device of that most illustrious family. Which work was the reason that that lord, who has ever been the friend of all talented and distinguished men, always favoured him, and even more would he have done it, if Daniello had not been so dilatory over his work; but for that Daniello was not to blame, seeing that such was his nature and genius, and he was content to do little well rather than much not so well. Now, in addition to the affection that the Cardinal bore him, Signor Annibale Caro worked on his behalf in such a manner with his patrons, the Farnesi, that they always assisted him. And for Madama Margherita of Austria, the daughter of Charles V, he painted in eight spaces in the study of which mention has been made in the Life of Indaco, in the Palace of the Medici on the Piazza Navona, eight little stories of the actions and illustrious deeds of the above-named Emperor Charles V, with such diligence and excellence, that it would be almost impossible to do better in that kind of work.
In the year 1547 Perino del Vaga died, leaving unfinished the Hall of Kings, which, as has been related, is in the Papal Palace, in front of the Sistine and Pauline Chapels; and by the mediation of many friends and lords, and in particular of Michelagnolo Buonarroti, Daniello was set in his place by Pope Paul III, with the same salary that Perino had received, and was commanded to make a beginning with the ornaments of the walls that were to be executed in stucco, with many nudes in the round over certain pediments. Now, since the walls of that Hall are broken by six large doors in variegated marble, and only one wall is left unbroken, Daniello made over each door what is almost a tabernacle in stucco, of great beauty. In each of these he intended to execute in painting one of [Pg 203] those Kings who have defended the Apostolic Church, and then to continue on the walls with stories of those Kings who have benefited the Church with tributes or victories, so that in all there were to be six stories and six niches. After those niches, or rather, tabernacles, Daniello with the aid of many assistants executed all the other very rich decorations in stucco that are to be seen in that Hall, studying at the same time over the cartoons for all that he had proposed to do in that place in the way of painting. Which done, he made a beginning with one of the stories, but he did not paint more than about two braccia of it, and two of the Kings in the tabernacles of stucco over the doors. For, although he was pressed by Cardinal Farnese and by the Pope, not reflecting that death very often spoils the designs of men, he carried on the work so slowly that when in the year 1549 the death of the Pope took place, there was nothing done save what has been described; and then, the Conclave having to be held in the Hall, which was full of scaffolding and woodwork, it became necessary to throw everything to the ground and uncover the work. The whole being thus seen by everyone, the works in stucco were vastly extolled, as they deserved, but not so the two Kings in painting, for it was thought that they were not equal in excellence to the work at the Trinita, and that with all those fine allowances and advantages he had gone rather backward than forward.
Julius III having been created Pontiff in the year 1550, Daniello put himself forward by means of friends and interests, hoping to obtain the same salary and to continue the work of that Hall, but the Pope, not having any inclination in his favour, always put him off; indeed, sending for Giorgio Vasari, who had been his servant from the time when he was Archbishop of Siponto, he made use of him in all matters concerned with design. Nevertheless, his Holiness having determined to make a fountain at the head of the corridor of the Belvedere, and not liking a design by Michelagnolo (in which was Moses striking the rock and causing water to flow from it) because it was a thing that could not be carried out without a great expenditure of time, since Michelagnolo wished to make it of marble; his Holiness, I say, preferring the advice of Giorgio, which was that the Cleopatra, a divine figure made by the Greeks, should be set up [Pg 204] in that place, the charge of that work was given by means of Buonarroti to Daniello, with orders that he should make in the above-named place a grotto in stucco-work, within which that Cleopatra was to be placed. Daniello, then, having set his hand to that work, pursued it so slowly, although he was much pressed, that he finished only the stucco-work and the paintings in that room, but as for the many other things that the Pope wished to have done, seeing them delayed longer than he had expected, he lost all desire for them, so that nothing more was done and everything was left in the condition that is still to be seen.
In a chapel in the Church of S. Agostino Daniello painted in fresco, with figures of the size of life, S. Helen causing the Cross to be found, and in two niches at the sides S. Cecilia and S. Lucia, which work was painted partly by him and partly, after his designs, by the young men who worked with him, so that it did not prove as perfect as his others. At this same time there was allotted to him by Signora Lucrezia della Rovere a chapel in the Trinita, opposite to that of Signora Elena Orsina. In that chapel, having divided it into compartments with stucco-work, he had the vaulting painted with stories of the Virgin, after his own cartoons, by Marco da Siena and Pellegrino da Bologna; on one of the walls he caused the Nativity of the Virgin to be painted by the Spaniard Bizzerra, and on the other, by Giovan Paolo Rossetti of Volterra, his disciple, the Presentation of Jesus Christ to Simeon; and he caused the same Giovan Paolo to execute two scenes that are on the arches above, Gabriel bringing the Annunciation to the Virgin and the Nativity of Christ. On the outer side, at the angles, he painted two large figures, and on the pilasters, at the foot, two Prophets. On the altar-front Daniello painted with his own hand the Madonna ascending the steps of the Temple, and on the principal wall the same Virgin ascending into Heaven, borne by many most beautiful Angels in the forms of little boys, and the twelve Apostles below, gazing on her as she ascends. And since the place would not hold so many figures, and he desired to use a new invention in the work, he made it appear as if the altar of that chapel were the sepulchre, and placed the Apostles around it, making their feet rest on the floor of the chapel, where the altar begins; which method of Daniello's has pleased some, but others, [Pg 205] who form the greater and better part, not at all. And although Daniello toiled fourteen years over executing that work, it is not a whit better than the first. On the last wall of the chapel that remained to be finished, on which there was to be painted the Massacre of the Innocents, having himself made the cartoons, he had the whole executed by the Florentine Michele Alberti, his disciple.
The Florentine Monsignor M. Giovanni della Casa, a man of great learning (to which his most pleasing and learned works, both in Latin and in the vulgar tongue, bear witness), having begun to write a treatise on the matters of painting, and wishing to enlighten himself as to certain minute particulars with the help of men of the profession, commissioned Daniello to make with all possible care a finished model of a David in clay. And then he caused him to paint, or rather, to copy in a picture, the same David, which is very beautiful, from either side, both the front and the back, which was a fanciful notion; and that picture now belongs to M. Annibale Rucellai. For the same M. Giovanni he executed a Dead Christ with the Maries; and, on a canvas that was to be sent to France, Æneas disrobing in order to go to sleep with Dido, and interrupted by Mercury, who is represented as speaking to him in the manner that may be read in the verses of Virgil. And he painted for the same man in another picture, likewise in oils, a most beautiful S. John in Penitence, of the size of life, which was held very dear by that lord as long as he lived; and also a S. Jerome, beautiful to a marvel.
Pope Julius III having died, and Paul IV having been elected Supreme Pontiff, the Cardinal of Carpi sought to persuade his Holiness to give the above-mentioned Hall of Kings to Daniello to finish, but that Pope, not delighting in pictures, answered that it was much better to fortify Rome than to spend money on painting it. And so he caused a beginning to be made with the great portal of the Castle, after the design of Salustio, the son of Baldassarre Peruzzi of Siena and his architect, and ordained that in that work, which was being executed all in travertine, after the manner of a sumptuous and magnificent triumphal arch, there should be placed in niches five statues, each of four braccia and a half; whereupon Daniello was commissioned to make an Angel Michael, the other statues having [Pg 206] been allotted to other craftsmen. Meanwhile Monsignor Giovanni Riccio, Cardinal of Montepulciano, resolved to erect a chapel in S. Pietro a Montorio, opposite to that which Pope Julius had caused to be built under the direction of Giorgio Vasari, and he allotted the altar-piece, the scenes in fresco and the statues of marble that were going into it, to Daniello; and Daniello, by that time completely determined that he would abandon painting and devote himself to sculpture, went off to Carrara to have the marble quarried both for the S. Michael and for the statues that he was to make for the chapel in S. Pietro a Montorio. With that occasion, coming to see Florence and the works that Vasari was executing in the Palace for the Duke, and the other works in that city, he received many courtesies from his innumerable friends, and in particular from Vasari himself, to whom Buonarroti had recommended him by letter. Abiding in Florence, then, and perceiving how much the Lord Duke delighted in all the arts of design, Daniello was seized with a desire to attach himself to the service of his most illustrious Excellency. Many means being therefore employed, the Lord Duke replied to those who were recommending him that he should be introduced by Vasari, and so it was done; and Daniello offering himself as the servant of his Excellency, the Duke answered graciously that he accepted him most willingly, and that after he had fulfilled the engagements that he had in Rome, he should come when he pleased, and he would be received very gladly.
Daniello stayed all that summer in Florence, where Giorgio lodged him in the house of Simon Botti, who was much his friend. There, during that time, he cast in gesso nearly all the figures of marble by the hand of Michelagnolo that are in the new sacristy of S. Lorenzo; and for the Fleming Michael Fugger he made a Leda, which was a very beautiful figure. He then went to Carrara, and from there, having sent the marble that he desired in the direction of Rome, he returned once again to Florence, for the following reason. Daniello had brought with him, when he first came from Rome to Florence, a young disciple of his own called Orazio Pianetti, a talented and very gentle youth; but no sooner had he arrived in Florence, whatever may have been the reason, than he died. At which feeling infinite grief and sorrow, Daniello, as one who much loved [Pg 207] the young man for his fine qualities, and was not able to show his affection for him in any other way, returning that last time to Florence, made a portrait of him in marble from the breast upwards, which he copied excellently well from one moulded from his dead body. And when it was finished, he placed it with an epitaph in the Church of S. Michele Berteldi on the Piazza degli Antinori; in which Daniello proved himself, by that truly loving office, to be a man of rare goodness, and a different sort of friend to his friends from the kind that is generally seen at the present day, when there are very few to be found who value anything in friendship beyond their own profit and convenience.
After these things, it being a long time since he had been in his native city of Volterra, he went there before returning to Rome, and was warmly welcomed by his relatives and friends. Being besought to leave some memorial of himself in his native place, he executed the story of the Innocents in a small panel with little figures, which was held to be a very beautiful work, and placed it in the Church of S. Piero. Then, thinking that he would never return, he sold the little that he possessed there by way of patrimony to Leonardo Ricciarelli, his nephew, who, having been with him in Rome, and having learned very well how to work in stucco, afterwards served Giorgio Vasari for three years, in company with many others, in the works that were executed at that time in the Palace of the Duke.
When Daniello had finally returned to Rome, Pope Paul IV having a desire to throw to the ground the Judgment of Michelagnolo on account of the nudes, which seemed to him to display the parts of shame in an unseemly manner, it was said by the Cardinals and by men of judgment that it would be a great sin to spoil them, and they found a way out of it, which was that Daniello should paint some light garments to cover them; and the business was afterwards finished in the time of Pius IV by repainting the S. Catherine and the S. Biagio, which were thought to be unseemly.
THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS
(After the painting by Daniello Ricciarelli. Florence: Uffizi, 1107)
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In the meantime he began the statues for the Chapel of the above-named Cardinal of Montepulciano, and the S. Michael for the great portal; but none the less, being a man who was always going from one notion to another, he did not work with the promptitude that he could and should [Pg 208] have used. About this time, after King Henry of France had been killed in a tournament, Signor Ruberto Strozzi being about to come to Italy and to Rome, Queen Caterina de' Medici, having been left Regent in that kingdom, and wishing to erect some honourable memorial to her dead husband, commanded the said Ruberto to confer with Buonarroti and to contrive to have her desire in that matter fulfilled. Wherefore, having arrived in Rome, he spoke long of the matter with Michelagnolo, who, not being able, because he was old, to accept that undertaking himself, advised Signor Ruberto to give it to Daniello, saying that he would not fail to give him all the counsel and assistance that he could. To that offer Strozzi attached great importance, and, after they had considered with much deliberation what should be done, it was resolved that Daniello should make a horse of bronze all in one piece, twenty palms high from the head to the feet, and about forty in length, and that upon it there should then be placed the statue of King Henry in armour, likewise of bronze. Daniello having then made a little model of clay after the advice and judgment of Michelagnolo, which much pleased Signor Ruberto, an account of everything was written to France, and in the end an agreement was made between him and Daniello as to the method of executing that work, the time, the price, and every other thing. Whereupon Daniello, setting to work with much study on the horse, made it in clay exactly as it was to be, without ever doing any other work; and then, having made the mould, he was proceeding to prepare to cast it, and, the work being of such importance, was taking advice from many founders as to the method that he ought to pursue, to the end that it might come out well, when Pius IV, who had been elected Pontiff after the death of Paul, gave Daniello to understand that he desired, as has been related in the Life of Salviati, that the work of the Hall of Kings should be finished, and that therefore every other thing was to be put on one side. To which Daniello answered that he was fully occupied and pledged to the Queen of France, but would make the cartoons and have the work carried forward by his young men, and, in addition, would also do his own part in it. The Pope, not liking that answer, began to think of allotting the whole to Salviati; wherefore Daniello, seized with jealousy, so went to work with the help [Pg 209] of the Cardinal of Carpi and Michelagnolo, that the half of that Hall was given to him to paint, and the other half, as we have related, to Salviati, although Daniello did his utmost to obtain the whole, in order to proceed with it at his leisure and convenience, without competition. But in the end the matter of that work was handled in such a manner, that Daniello did not do there one thing more than what he had done before, and Salviati did not finish the little that he had begun, and even that little was thrown to the ground for him by certain malicious persons.
Finally, after four years, Daniello was ready, so far as concerned him, to cast the above-mentioned horse, but he was obliged to wait many months more than he would otherwise have done, for want of the supplies of iron instruments, metal, and other materials that Signor Ruberto was to give him. But in the end, all these things having been provided, Daniello embedded the mould, which was a vast mass, between two furnaces for founding in a very suitable room that he had at Monte Cavallo. The material being melted and the orifices unstopped, for a time the metal ran well enough, but at length the weight of the metal burst the mould of the body of the horse, and all the molten material flowed in a wrong direction. At first this much troubled the mind of Daniello, but none the less, having thought well over everything, he found a way to remedy that great misfortune; and so after two months, casting it a second time, his ability prevailed over the impediments of Fortune, so that he executed the casting of that horse (which is a sixth, or more, larger than that of Antoninus which is on the Campidoglio) perfectly uniform and equally delicate throughout, and it is a marvellous thing that a work so large should not weigh more than twenty thousand (libbre).
But such were the discomforts and fatigues that were endured in the work by Daniello, who was rather feeble in constitution and melancholy than otherwise, that not long afterwards there came upon him a cruel catarrh, which much reduced him; indeed, whereas Daniello should have been happy at having surmounted innumerable difficulties in so rare a casting, it seemed that he never smiled again, no matter what good fortune might befall him, and no long time passed before that catarrh, after an illness of two days, robbed him of his life, on the 4th of April, 1566. But [Pg 210] before that, having foreseen his death, he confessed very devoutly, and demanded all the Sacraments of the Church; and then, making his will, he directed that his body should be buried in the new church that had been begun at the Baths by Pius IV for the Carthusian Monks, ordaining also that at his tomb, in that place, there should be set up the statue of the Angel that he had formerly begun for the great portal of the Castle. And of all this he gave the charge to the Florentine Michele degli Alberti and to Feliciano of San Vito in the district of Rome, making them executors of his will in those matters, and leaving them two hundred crowns for the purpose. Which last wishes of Daniello's the two of them executed with diligence and love, giving him honourable burial in that place, according as he had directed. To the same men he left all his property pertaining to art, moulds in gesso, models, designs, and all the other materials and implements of his work; wherefore they offered themselves to the Ambassador of France, saying that they would deliver completely finished, within a fixed time, the work of the horse and the figure of the King that was to go upon it. And, in truth, both of them having practised many years under the instruction and discipline of Daniello, the greatest things may be expected from them.
Disciples of Daniello, likewise, have been Biagio da Carigliano of Pistoia, and Giovan Paolo Rossetti of Volterra, who is a very diligent person and of most beautiful genius; which Giovan Paolo, having retired to Volterra many years ago, has executed, as he still does, works worthy of much praise. Another who also worked with Daniello, and made much proficience, was Marco da Siena, who, having made his way to Naples and chosen that city as his home, lives there and is constantly at work. And Giulio Mazzoni of Piacenza has likewise been a disciple of Daniello; which Giulio received his first instruction from Vasari, when Giorgio was executing in Florence an altar-piece for M. Biagio Mei, which was sent to Lucca and placed in S. Piero Cigoli, and when the same Giorgio was painting the altar-piece of the high-altar and a great work in the refectory of Monte Oliveto at Naples, besides the Sacristy of S. Giovanni Carbonaro and the doors of the organ in the Piscopio, with other altar-pieces and pictures. Giulio, having afterwards learned from Daniello to work in stucco, in [Pg 211] which he equalled his master, has adorned with his own hand all the interior of the Palace of Cardinal Capodiferro, executing there marvellous works not only in stucco, but also of scenes in fresco and in oils, which have won him infinite praise, and that rightly. The same master has made a head of Francesco del Nero in marble, copying it so well from the life, that I do not believe that it is possible to do better; wherefore it may be hoped that he is destined to achieve a very fine result, and to attain to the greatest excellence and perfection that a man can reach in these our arts.
Daniello was an orderly and excellent man, but so intent on the studies of art, that he gave little thought to the other circumstances of his life. He was a melancholy person, and very solitary; and he died at about the age of fifty-seven. A request for his portrait was made to those disciples of his, who had taken it in gesso, and when I was in Rome last year they promised it to me; but, for all the messages and letters that I have sent to them, they have refused to give it, thus showing little affection for their dead master. However, I have been unwilling to be hindered by that ingratitude on their part, seeing that Daniello was my friend, and I have included the portrait given above, which, although it is little like him, must serve as a proof of my diligence and of the little care and lovingness of Michele degli Alberti and Feliciano da San Vito.
Francesco Maria being Duke of Urbino, there was born in the township of Sant'Agnolo in Vado, a place in that State, on the 1st of September in the year 1529, to the painter Ottaviano Zucchero, a male child to whom he gave the name of Taddeo; which boy having learned by the age of ten to read and write passing well, his father took him under his own discipline and taught him something of design. But, perceiving that his son had a very beautiful genius and was likely to become a better master in painting than he believed himself to be, Ottaviano placed him with Pompeo da Fano, who was very much his friend, but a commonplace painter. Pompeo's works not pleasing Taddeo, and likewise his ways, he returned to Sant'Agnolo, and there, as well as in other places, assisted his father to the best of his power and knowledge. Finally, being well grown in years and in judgment, and perceiving that he could not make much progress under the discipline of his father, who was burdened with seven sons and one daughter, and also that with his own little knowledge he could not be of as much assistance to his father as he might wish, he went off all alone, at the age of fourteen, to Rome. There, at first, not being known by anyone, and himself knowing no one, he suffered some hardships; and, if he did know one or two persons, he was treated worse by them than by the others. Thus, having approached Francesco, called Sant'Agnolo, who was working by the day at grotesques under Perino del Vaga, he commended himself to him with all humility, praying him that, being his kinsman, he should consent to help him; but no good came of it, for Francesco, as certain kinds of kinsmen often do, not only did not assist him by word or deed, but reproved and repelled him harshly. But for [Pg 216] all that, not losing heart and not being dismayed, the poor boy contrived to maintain himself (or we should rather say, to starve himself) for many months in Rome by grinding colours for a small price, now in one shop and now in another, at times also drawing something, as best he could. And although in the end he placed himself as an assistant with one Giovan Piero Calavrese, he did not gain much profit from that, for the reason that his master, together with his wife, a shrew of a woman, not only made him grind colours all day and all night, but even, among other things, kept him in want of bread, which, lest he should be able to have enough or to take it at his pleasure, they used to keep in a basket hung from the ceiling, with some little bells, which would ring at the least touch of a hand on the basket, and thus give the alarm. But this would have caused little annoyance to Taddeo, if only he had had any opportunity of drawing some designs by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino that his pig of a master possessed.
On account of these and many other strange ways Taddeo left Giovan Piero, and resolved to live by himself and to have recourse to the workshops of Rome, where he was by that time known, spending a part of the week in doing work for a livelihood, and the rest in drawing, particularly the works by the hand of Raffaello that were in the house of Agostino Chigi and in other places in Rome. And since very often, when the evening came on, he had no place wherein to sleep, many a night he took refuge under the loggie of the above-named Chigi's house and in other suchlike places; which hardships did something to ruin his constitution, and, if his youth had not helped him, they would have killed him altogether. As it was, falling ill, and not being assisted by his kinsman Francesco Sant'Agnolo any more than he had been before, he returned to his father's house at Sant'Agnolo, in order not to finish his life in such misery as that in which he had been living.
However, not to waste any more time on matters that are not of the first importance, now that I have shown at sufficient length with what difficulties and hardships he made his proficience, let me relate that Taddeo, at length restored to health and once more in Rome, resumed his usual studies, but with more care of himself than he had taken in the past, [Pg 217] and learned so much under a certain Jacopone, that he came into some credit. Wherefore the above-mentioned Francesco, his kinsman, who had behaved so cruelly toward him, perceiving that he had become an able master, and wishing to make use of him, became reconciled with him; and they began to work together, Taddeo, who was of a kindly nature, having forgotten all his wrongs. And so, Taddeo making the designs, and both together executing many friezes in fresco in chambers and loggie, they went on assisting one another.
Meanwhile the painter Daniello da Parma, who had formerly been many years with Antonio da Correggio, and had associated with Francesco Mazzuoli of Parma, having undertaken to paint a church in fresco for the Office of Works of S. Maria at Vitto, beyond Sora, on the borders of the Abruzzi, called Taddeo to his assistance and took him to Vitto. In which work, although Daniello was not the best painter in the world, nevertheless, on account of his age, and from his having seen the methods of Correggio and Parmigiano, and with what softness they executed their paintings, he had such experience that, imparting it to Taddeo and teaching him, he was of the greatest assistance to him with his words; no less, indeed, than another might have been by working before him. In that work, which was on a groined vaulting, Taddeo painted the four Evangelists, two Sibyls, two Prophets, and four not very large stories of Jesus Christ and of the Virgin His Mother.
He then returned to Rome, where, M. Jacopo Mattei, a Roman gentleman, discoursing with Francesco Sant'Agnolo of his desire to have the façade of his house painted in chiaroscuro, Francesco proposed Taddeo to him; but he appeared to that gentleman to be too young, wherefore Francesco said to him that he should make trial of Taddeo in two scenes, which, if they were not successful, could be thrown to the ground, and, if successful, could be continued. Taddeo having then set his hand to the work, the two first scenes proved to be such, that M. Jacopo was not only satisfied with them, but astonished. In the year 1548, therefore, when Taddeo had finished that work, he was vastly extolled by all Rome, and that with good reason, because after Polidoro, Maturino, Vincenzio da [Pg 218] San Gimignano, and Baldassarre da Siena, no one had attained in works of that kind to the standard that Taddeo had reached, who was then a young man only eighteen years of age. The stories of the work may be understood from these inscriptions, of the deeds of Furius Camillus, one of which is below each scene.
The first, then, runs thus—
TUSCULANI, PACE CONSTANTI, VIM ROMANAM ARCENT.
M.F.C. SIGNIFERUM SECUM IN HOSTEM RAPIT.
M.F.C. AUCTORE, INCENSA URBS RESTITUITUR.
M.F.C. PACTIONIBUS TURBATIS PRÆLIUM GALLIS NUNCIAT.
M.F.C. PRODITOREM VINCTUM FALERIO REDUCENDUM TRADIT.
MATRONALIS AURI COLLATIONE VOTUM APOLLINI SOLVITUR.
M.F.C. JUNONI REGINÆ TEMPLUM IN AVENTINO DEDICAT.
SIGNUM JUNONIS REGINÆ A VEIIS ROMAM TRANSFERTUR.
M.F.C. ... ANLIUS DICT. DECEM ... SOCIOS CAPIT.
From that time until the year 1550, when Julius III was elected Pope, Taddeo occupied himself with works of no great importance, yet with considerable profits. In which year of 1550, the year of the Jubilee, Ottaviano, the father of Taddeo, with his mother and another of their sons, went to Rome to take part in that most holy Jubilee, and partly, also, to see their son. After they had been there some weeks with Taddeo, on departing they left with him the boy that they had brought with them, who was called Federigo, to the end that he might cause him to study [Pg 219] letters. But Taddeo judged him to be more fitted for painting, as indeed Federigo has since been seen to be from the excellent result that he has achieved; and so, after he had learned his first letters, Taddeo began to make him give his attention to design, with better fortune and support than he himself had enjoyed. Meanwhile Taddeo painted in the Church of S. Ambrogio de' Milanesi, on the wall of the high-altar, four stories of the life of that Saint, coloured in fresco and not very large, with a frieze of little boys, and women after the manner of terminal figures; which was a work of no little beauty. That finished, he painted a façade full of stories of Alexander the Great, beside S. Lucia della Tinta, near the Orso, beginning from his birth and continuing with five stories of the most noteworthy actions of that famous man; which work won him much praise, although it had to bear comparison with another façade near it by the hand of Polidoro.
About that time Guidobaldo, Duke of Urbino, having heard the fame of the young man, who was his vassal, and desiring to give completion to the walls of the chapel in the Duomo of Urbino, wherein Battista Franco, as has been related, had painted the vaulting in fresco, caused Taddeo to be summoned to Urbino. And he, leaving Federigo in Rome, under the care of persons who might make him give his attention to his studies, and likewise another of his brothers, whom he placed with some friends to learn the goldsmith's art, went off to Urbino, where many attentions were paid him by that Duke; and then orders were given to him as to all that he was to design in the matter of the chapel and other works. But in the meantime the Duke, as General to the Signori of Venice, had to visit Verona and the other fortified places of that dominion, and he took with him Taddeo, who copied for him the picture by the hand of Raffaello da Urbino which, as has been related in another place, is in the house of the noble Counts of Canossa. And he afterwards began, also for his Excellency, a large canvas with the Conversion of S. Paul, which, unfinished as he left it, is still in the possession of his father Ottaviano at Sant'Agnolo.
Then, having returned to Urbino, he occupied himself for a time with continuing the designs for the above-mentioned chapel, which were [Pg 220] of the life of Our Lady, as may be seen from some of them that are in the possession of his brother Federigo, drawn in chiaroscuro with the pen. But, whether it was that the Duke had not made up his mind or considered Taddeo to be too young, or for some other reason, Taddeo remained with him two years without doing anything but some pictures in a little study at Pesaro, a large coat of arms in fresco on the façade of the Palace, and a picture with a life-size portrait of the Duke, which were all beautiful works. Finally the Duke, having to depart for Rome to receive from Pope Julius III his baton as General of Holy Church, left directions that Taddeo was to proceed with the above-named chapel, and that he was to be provided with all that he required for that purpose. But the Duke's ministers, keeping him, as such men generally do, in want of everything, brought it about that Taddeo, after having lost two years of his time, had to go off to Rome, where, having found the Duke, he excused himself adroitly, without blaming anyone, and promised that he would not fail to do the work when the time came.
In the year 1551, Stefano Veltroni, of Monte Sansovino—having received orders from the Pope and from Vasari to have adorned with grotesques the apartments of the villa on the hill without the Porta del Popolo, which had belonged to Cardinal Poggio—summoned Taddeo, and caused him to paint in the central picture a figure of Opportunity, who, having seized Fortune by the locks, appears to be about to cut them with her shears (the device of that Pope); in which Taddeo acquitted himself very well. Then, Vasari having made before any of the others the designs for the court and the fountain at the foot of the new Palace, which were afterwards carried on by Vignuola and Ammanati and built by Baronino, Prospero Fontana, in painting many pictures there, as will be related hereafter, availed himself not a little of Taddeo in many things. And these were the cause of even greater benefits for him, for the Pope, liking his method of working, commissioned him to paint in some apartments, above the corridor of the Belvedere, some little figures in colour that served as friezes for those apartments; and in an open loggia, behind those that faced towards Rome, he painted in chiaroscuro on the wall, with figures as large as life, all the Labours of Hercules, which [Pg 221] were destroyed in the time of Pope Paul IV, when other apartments and a chapel were built there. At the Vigna of Pope Julius, in the first apartments of the Palace, he executed some scenes in colour, and in particular one of Mount Parnassus, in the centre of the ceilings, and in the court of the same he painted in chiaroscuro two scenes of the history of the Sabines, which are one on either side of the principal door of variegated marble that leads into the loggia, whence one descends to the fountain of the Acqua Vergine; all which works were much commended and extolled.
Now Federigo, while Taddeo was in Rome with the Duke, had returned to Urbino, and he had lived there and at Pesaro ever since; but Taddeo, after the works described above, caused him to return to Rome, in order to make use of him in executing a great frieze in a hall, with others in other rooms, of the house of the Giambeccari on the Piazza di S. Apostolo, and in other friezes that he painted in the house of M. Antonio Portatore at the Obelisk of S. Mauro, all full of figures and other things, which were held to be very beautiful. Maestro Mattivolo, the Master of the Post, bought in the time of Pope Julius a site on the Campo Marzio, and built there a large and very commodious house, and then commissioned Taddeo to paint the façade in chiaroscuro; which Taddeo executed there three stories of Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, which were very beautiful, and the rest he caused to be painted by others after designs by his own hand. Meanwhile M. Jacopo Mattei, having caused a chapel to be built in the Church of the Consolazione below the Campidoglio, allotted it to Taddeo to paint, knowing already how able he was; and he willingly undertook to do it, and for a small price, in order to show to certain persons, who went about saying that he could do nothing save façades and other works in chiaroscuro, that he could also paint in colour. Having then set his hand to that work, Taddeo would only touch it when he was in the mood and vein to do well, spending the rest of his time on works that did not weigh upon him so much in the matter of honour; and so he executed it at his leisure in four years. On the vaulting he painted in fresco four scenes of the Passion of Christ, of no great size, with most beautiful fantasies, and [Pg 222] all so well executed in invention, design, and colouring, that he surpassed his own self; which scenes are the Last Supper with the Apostles, the Washing of Feet, the Prayer in the Garden, and Christ taken and kissed by Judas. On one of the walls at the sides he painted in figures large as life Christ Scourged at the Column, and on the other Pilate showing Him after the scourging to the Jews, saying "Ecce Homo"; above this last, in an arch, is the same Pilate washing his hands, and in the other arch, opposite to that, Christ led before Annas. On the altar-wall he painted the same Christ Crucified, and the Maries at the foot of the Cross, with Our Lady in a swoon; on either side of her is a Prophet, and in the arch above the ornament of stucco he painted two Sibyls; which four figures are discoursing of the Passion of Christ. And on the vaulting, about certain ornaments in stucco, are four half-length figures representing the Four Evangelists, which are very beautiful. The whole work, which was uncovered in the year 1556, when Taddeo was not more than twenty-six years of age, was held, as it still is, to be extraordinary, and he was judged by the craftsmen at that time to be an excellent painter.
That work finished, M. Mario Frangipane allotted to him his chapel in the Church of S. Marcello, in which Taddeo made use, as he also did in many other works, of the young strangers who are always to be found in Rome, and who go about working by the day in order to learn and to gain their bread; but none the less for the time being he did not finish it completely. The same master painted in fresco in the Pope's Palace, in the time of Paul IV, some rooms where Cardinal Caraffa lived, in the great tower above the Guard of Halberdiers; and two little pictures in oils of the Nativity of Christ and the Virgin flying with Joseph into Egypt, which were sent to Portugal by the Ambassador of that Kingdom. The Cardinal of Mantua, wishing to have painted with the greatest possible rapidity the whole interior of his Palace beside the Arco di Portogallo, allotted that work to Taddeo for a proper price; and Taddeo, beginning it with the help of a good number of men, in a short time carried it to completion, showing that he had very great judgment in being able to employ so many different brains harmoniously in so great a work, and in managing the various manners in such a way, that the [Pg 223] work appears as if all by the same hand. In short, Taddeo satisfied in that undertaking, with great profit to himself, the Cardinal and all who saw it, disappointing the expectations of those who could not believe that he was likely to succeed amid the perplexities of such a great work.
In like manner, he painted some scenes with figures in fresco for M. Alessandro Mattei in some recesses in the apartments of his Palace near the Botteghe Scure, and some others he caused to be executed by his brother Federigo, to the end that he might become accustomed to the work. Which Federigo, having taken courage, afterwards executed by himself a Mount Parnassus in the recess of a ceiling in the house of a Roman gentleman called Stefano Margani, below the steps of the Araceli. Whereupon Taddeo, seeing Federigo confident and working by himself from his own designs, without being assisted more than was reasonable by anyone, contrived to have a chapel allotted to him by the men of S. Maria dell'Orto a Ripa, making it almost appear that he intended to do it himself, for the reason that it would never have been given to Federigo alone, who was still a mere lad. Taddeo, then, in order to satisfy these men, painted there the Nativity of Christ, and Federigo afterwards executed all the rest, acquitting himself in such a manner that there could be seen the beginning of that excellence which is now made manifest in him.
In those same times the Duke of Guise, who was then in Rome, desiring to take an able and practised painter to paint his Palace in France, Taddeo was proposed to him; whereupon, having seen some of his works, and liking his manner, he agreed to give him a salary of six hundred crowns a year, on condition that Taddeo, after finishing the work that he had in hand, should go to France to serve him. And so Taddeo would have done, the money for his preparations having been deposited in a bank, if it had not been for the wars that broke out in France at that time, and shortly afterwards the death of that Duke. Taddeo then went back to finish the work for Frangipane in S. Marcello, but he was not able to work for long without being interrupted, for, the Emperor Charles V having died, preparations were made for giving him most honourable obsequies in Rome, fit for an Emperor of the Romans, [Pg 224] and to Taddeo were allotted many scenes from the life of that Emperor, and also many trophies and other ornaments, which were made by him of pasteboard in a very sumptuous and magnificent manner; and he finished the whole in twenty-five days. For his labours, therefore, and those of Federigo and others who had assisted him, six hundred crowns of gold were paid to him.
Shortly afterwards he painted two great chambers at Bracciano for Signor Paolo Giordano Orsini, which were very beautiful and richly adorned with stucco-work and gold; in one the stories of Cupid and Psyche, and in the second, which had been begun previously by others, some stories of Alexander the Great; and others that remained for him to paint, continuing the history of the same Alexander, he caused to be executed by his brother Federigo, who acquitted himself very well. And then he painted in fresco for M. Stefano del Bufalo, in his garden near the fountain of Trevi, the Muses around the Castalian Fount and Mount Parnassus, which was held to be a beautiful work.
The Wardens of Works of the Madonna of Orvieto, as has been related in the Life of Simone Mosca, had caused some chapels with ornaments of marble and stucco to be built in the aisles of their church, and had also had some altar-pieces executed by Girolamo Mosciano of Brescia; and, having heard the fame of Taddeo by means of friends, they sent a summons to him, and he went to Orvieto, taking with him Federigo. There, settling to work, he executed two great figures on the wall of one of those chapels, one representing the Active Life, and the other the Contemplative, which were despatched with a very sure facility of hand, in the manner wherein he executed works to which he gave little study; and while Taddeo was painting those figures, Federigo painted three little stories of S. Paul in the recess of the same chapel. At the end of which, both having fallen ill, they went away, promising to return in September. Taddeo returned to Rome, and Federigo to Sant'Agnolo with a slight fever; which having passed, at the end of two months he also returned to Rome. There, Holy Week being close at hand, the two together set to work in the Florentine Company of S. Agata, which is behind the Banchi, and painted in four days on the vaulting and the recess of that [Pg 225] oratory, for a rich festival that was prepared for Holy Thursday and Good Friday, scenes in chiaroscuro of the whole Passion of Christ, with some Prophets and other pictures, which caused all who saw them to marvel.
After that, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, having brought very near completion his Palace of Caprarola, with Vignuola as architect, of whom there will be an account in a short time, gave the charge of painting it all to Taddeo, on these conditions: that, since Taddeo did not wish to abandon his other works in Rome, he should be obliged to make all the cartoons, designs, divisions, and arrangements for the works in painting and in stucco that were to be executed in that place; that the men who were to carry them into execution should be chosen by Taddeo, but paid by the Cardinal; and that Taddeo should be obliged to work there himself for two or three months in the year, and to go there as many times as it might be necessary to see how things were progressing, and to retouch all that was not to his satisfaction. And for all these labours the Cardinal promised him a salary of two hundred crowns a year. Whereupon Taddeo, having so honourable an appointment and the support of so great a lord, determined that he would give himself some peace of mind, and would no longer accept any mean work in Rome, as he had done up to that time; desiring, above all, to avoid the censure that many men of art laid upon him, saying that from a certain grasping avarice he would accept any kind of work, in order to gain with the arms of others that which would have been to many of them an honest means to enable them to study, as he himself had done in his early youth. Against which reproaches Taddeo used to defend himself by saying that he did it on account of Federigo and the other brothers that he had on his shoulders, desiring that they should learn with his assistance.
Having thus resolved to serve Farnese and also to finish the chapel in S. Marcello, he obtained for Federigo from M. Tizio da Spoleti, the master of the household to the above-named Cardinal, the commission to paint the façade of a house that he had on the Piazza della Dogana, near S. Eustachio; which was very welcome to Federigo, for he had never desired anything so much as to have some work altogether for himself. [Pg 226] On one part of the façade, therefore, he painted in colours the scene of S. Eustachio causing himself to be baptized with his wife and children, which was a very good work; and on the centre of the façade he painted the same Saint, when, while hunting, he sees Jesus Christ on the Cross between the horns of a stag. Now since Federigo, when he executed that work, was not more than twenty-eight years of age, Taddeo, who reflected that the work was in a public place, and that it was of great importance to the credit of Federigo, not only went sometimes to see him at his painting, but also at times insisted on retouching and improving some part. Wherefore Federigo, after having had patience for a time, finally, carried away on one occasion by the anger natural in one who would have preferred to work by himself, seized a mason's hammer and dashed to the ground something (I know not what) that Taddeo had painted; and in his rage he stayed some days without going back to the house. Which being heard by the friends of both the one and the other of them, they so went to work that the two were reconciled, on the understanding that Taddeo should be able to set his hand on the designs and cartoons of Federigo and correct them at his pleasure, but never the works that he might execute in fresco, in oils, or in any other medium.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST
(After the panel by Federigo Zucchero. Florence: Uffizi, 270)
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Federigo having then finished the work of that house, it was universally extolled, and won him the name of an able painter. After that, Taddeo was ordered to repaint in the Sala de' Palafrenieri those Apostles which Raffaello had formerly executed there in terretta, and which had been thrown to the ground by Paul IV; and he, having painted one, caused all the others to be executed by his brother Federigo, who acquitted himself very well. Next, they painted together a frieze in fresco-colours in one of the halls of the Palace of the Araceli. Then, a proposal being discussed, about the same time that they were working at the Araceli, to give to Signor Federigo Borromeo as a wife the Lady Donna Virginia, the daughter of Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino, Taddeo was sent to take her portrait, which he did excellently well; and before he departed from Urbino he made all the designs for a credence, which that Duke afterwards caused to be made in clay at Castel Durante, for sending to King Philip of [Pg 227] Spain. Having returned to Rome, Taddeo presented to the Pope that portrait, which pleased him well enough; but such was the discourtesy of that Pontiff, or of his ministers, that the poor painter was not recompensed even for his expenses.
In the year 1560 the Pope expected in Rome the Lord Duke Cosimo and the Lady Duchess Leonora, his consort, and proposed to lodge their Excellencies in the apartments formerly built by Innocent VIII, which look out upon the first court of the Palace and that of S. Pietro, and have in front of them loggie that look out on the piazza where the Benediction is given; and Taddeo received the charge of painting the pictures and some friezes that were to be executed there, and of overlaying with gold the new ceilings that had been made in place of the old ones, which had been consumed by time. In that work, which was certainly a great and important undertaking, Federigo, to whom his brother Taddeo gave the charge of almost the whole, acquitted himself very well; but he incurred a great danger, for, as he was painting grotesques in those loggie, he fell from a staging that rested on the main part of the scaffolding, and was near coming to an evil end.
No long time passed before Cardinal Emulio, to whom the Pope had given the charge of the matter, commissioned many young men, to the end that the work might be finished quickly, to paint the little palace that is in the wood of the Belvedere, which was begun in the time of Pope Paul IV with a most beautiful fountain and many ancient statues as ornaments, after an architectural design by Pirro Ligorio. The young men who worked (with great credit to themselves) in that place, were Federigo Barocci of Urbino, a youth of great promise, and Leonardo Cungi and Durante del Nero, both of Borgo San Sepolcro, who executed the apartments of the first floor. At the head of the staircase, which was made in a spiral shape, the first room was painted by Santi Titi, a painter of Florence, who acquitted himself very well; the larger room, which is beside the first, was painted by the above-named Federigo Zucchero, the brother of Taddeo; and the Sclavonian Giovanni dal Carso, a passing good master of grotesques, executed another room beyond it. But, although each of the men named above acquitted himself very well, [Pg 228] nevertheless Federigo surpassed all the others in some stories of Christ that he painted there, such as the Transfiguration, the Marriage of Cana in Galilee, and the Centurion kneeling before Christ. And of two that were still wanting, one was painted by Orazio Sammacchini, a Bolognese painter, and the other by a certain Lorenzo Costa of Mantua. The same Federigo Zucchero painted in that place the little loggia that looks out over the fish-pond. And then he painted a frieze in the principal hall of the Belvedere (to which one ascends by the spiral staircase), with stories of Moses and Pharaoh, beautiful to a marvel; the design for which work, drawn and coloured with his own hand in a most beautiful drawing, Federigo himself gave not long since to the Reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, who holds it very dear as a drawing by the hand of an excellent painter. In the same place, also, Federigo painted the Angel slaying the first-born in Egypt, availing himself, in order to finish it the quicker, of the help of many of his young men. But when those works came to be valued by certain persons, the labours of Federigo and the others were not rewarded as they should have been, because there are among our craftsmen in Rome, as well as in Florence and everywhere else, some most malignant spirits who, blinded by prejudice and envy, are not able or not willing to recognize the merits of the works of others and the deficiency of their own; and such persons are very often the reason that the young men of fine genius, becoming dismayed, grow cold in their studies and their work. After these works, Federigo painted in the Office of the Ruota, about an escutcheon of Pope Pius IV, two figures larger than life, Justice and Equity, which were much extolled; thus giving time to Taddeo, meanwhile, to attend to the work of Caprarola and the chapel in S. Marcello.
In the meantime his Holiness, wishing at all costs to finish the Hall of Kings, after the many contentions that had taken place between Daniello and Salviati, as has been related, gave orders to the Bishop of Forlì as to all that he wished him to do in the matter. Wherefore the Bishop wrote to Vasari (on the 3rd of September in the year 1561), that the Pope, wishing to finish the work of the Hall of Kings, had given him the charge of finding men who might once and for all take it off his hands, [Pg 229] and that therefore, moved by their ancient friendship and by other reasons, he besought Giorgio to consent to go to Rome in order to execute that work, with the good pleasure and leave of his master the Duke, for the reason that, while giving satisfaction to his Holiness, he would win much honour and profit for himself; praying him to answer as soon as possible. Replying to which letter, Vasari said that, finding himself very well placed in the service of the Duke, and remunerated for his labours with rewards different from those that he had received from other Pontiffs in Rome, he intended to remain in the service of his Excellency, for whom he was at that very time to set his hand to a hall much greater than the Hall of Kings; and that there was no want in Rome of men who might be employed in that work. The above-named Bishop having received that answer from Vasari, and having conferred with his Holiness of the whole matter, Cardinal Emulio, immediately after receiving from the Pontiff the charge of having that Hall finished, divided the work, as has been related, among many young men, some of whom were already in Rome, and others were summoned from other places. To Giuseppe Porta of Castelnuovo della Garfagnana, a disciple of Salviati, were given two of the largest scenes in the Hall; to Girolamo Siciolante of Sermoneta, one of the large scenes and one of the small; to Orazio Sammacchini of Bologna one of the small scenes, to Livio da Forlì a similar one, and to Giovan Battista Fiorini of Bologna yet another of the small scenes. Which hearing, Taddeo perceived that he had been excluded because it had been said to the above-named Cardinal Emulio that he was a person who gave more attention to gain than to glory and working well; and he did his utmost with Cardinal Farnese to obtain a part of that work. But the Cardinal, not wishing to move in the matter, answered him that his labours at Caprarola should content him, and that it did not seem to him right that his own works should be neglected by reason of the rivalry and emulation between the craftsmen; adding also that, when a master does well, it is the works that give a name to the place, and not the place to the works. Notwithstanding this, Taddeo so went to work by other means with Emulio, that finally he was commissioned to execute one of the smaller scenes over a door, not being able, either by prayers [Pg 230] or by any other means, to obtain the commission for one of the large scenes; and, in truth, it is said that Emulio was acting with caution in the matter, for the reason that, hoping that Giuseppe Salviati would surpass all the others, he was minded to give him the rest, and perchance to throw to the ground all that might have been done by the others. Now, after all the men named above had carried their works well forward, the Pope desired to see them all; and so, everything being uncovered, he recognized (and all the Cardinals and the best craftsmen were of the same opinion) that Taddeo had acquitted himself better than any of the others, although all had done passing well. His Holiness, therefore, commanded Signor Agabrio that he should cause Cardinal Emulio to commission him to execute one of the larger scenes; whereupon the head-wall was allotted to him, wherein is the door of the Pauline Chapel. And there he made a beginning with the work, but he did not carry it any farther, for, the death of the Pope supervening, everything was uncovered for the holding of the Conclave, although many of those scenes had not been finished. Of the scene that Taddeo began in that place, we have the design by his hand, sent to us by him, in the book of drawings that we have so often mentioned.
Taddeo painted at the same time, besides some other little things, a picture with a very beautiful Christ, which was to be sent to Caprarola for Cardinal Farnese; which work is now in the possession of his brother Federigo, who says that he desires it for himself as long as he lives. The picture receives its light from some weeping Angels, who are holding torches. But since the works that Taddeo executed at Caprarola will be described at some length in a little time, in discoursing of Vignuola, who built that fabric, for the present I shall say nothing more of them.
Federigo was meanwhile summoned to Venice, and made an agreement with the Patriarch Grimani to finish for him the chapel in S. Francesco della Vigna, which had remained incomplete, as has been related, on account of the death of the Venetian Battista Franco. But, before he began that chapel, he adorned for that Patriarch the staircase of his Palace in Venice, with little figures placed with much grace in certain ornaments of stucco; and then he executed in fresco, in the above-named [Pg 231] chapel, the two stories of Lazarus and the Conversion of the Magdalene, the design of which, by the hand of Federigo, is in our book. Afterwards, in the altar-piece of the same chapel, Federigo painted the story of the Magi in oils. And then he painted some pictures in a loggia, which are much extolled, at the villa of M. Giovan Battista Pellegrini, between Chioggia and Monselice, where Andrea Schiavone and the Flemings, Lamberto and Gualtieri, have executed many works.
After the departure of Federigo, Taddeo continued to work in fresco all that summer in the chapel of S. Marcello; and for that chapel, finally, he painted in the altar-piece the Conversion of S. Paul. In that picture may be seen, executed in a beautiful manner, the Saint fallen from his horse and all dazed by the splendour and voice of Jesus Christ, whom he depicted amid a Glory of Angels, in the act, so it appears, of saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" His followers, who are about him, are likewise struck with awe, and stand as if bereft of their senses. On the vaulting, within certain ornaments of stucco, he painted in fresco three stories of the same Saint. In one he is being taken as a prisoner to Rome, and disembarks on the Island of Malta; and there may be seen how, on the kindling of the fire, a viper strikes at his hand to bite it, while some mariners, almost naked, stand in various attitudes about the barque; in another is the scene when a young man, having fallen from a window, is brought to S. Paul, who by the power of God restores him to life; and in the third is the Beheading and Death of the Saint. On the walls below are two large scenes, likewise in fresco; in one is S. Paul healing a man crippled in the legs, and in the other a disputation, wherein he causes a magician to be struck with blindness; and both the one and the other are truly most beautiful. But that work having been left incomplete by reason of his death, Federigo has finished it this year, and it has been thrown open to view with great credit to him. At this same time Federigo executed some pictures in oils, which were sent to France by the Ambassador of that kingdom.
The little hall in the Farnese Palace having remained unfinished on account of the death of Salviati (wanting two scenes, namely, at the entrance, opposite to the great window), Cardinal Sant'Agnolo, of the [Pg 232] Farnese family, gave them to Taddeo to execute, and he carried them to completion very well. But nevertheless he did not surpass or even equal Francesco in the works executed by him in the same apartment, as certain envious and malignant spirits went about saying throughout Rome, in order to diminish the glory of Salviati by their foul calumnies; and although Taddeo used to defend himself by saying that he had caused the whole to be executed by his assistants, and that there was nothing in that work by his hand save the design and a few other things, such excuses were not accepted, for the reason that a man who wishes to surpass another in any competition, must not entrust the credit of his art to the keeping of feeble persons, for that is clearly the way to perdition. Thus Cardinal Sant'Agnolo, a man of truly supreme judgment in all things, and of surpassing goodness, recognized how much he had lost by the death of Salviati; for, although he was proud and even arrogant, and ill-tempered, in matters of painting he was truly most excellent. However, since the best craftsmen had disappeared from Rome, that lord, for want of others, resolved to entrust the painting of the Great Hall in that Palace to Taddeo, who accepted it willingly, in the hope of being able to prove by means of every effort how great were his ability and knowledge.
The Florentine Lorenzo Pucci, Cardinal Santiquattro, had formerly caused a chapel to be built in the Trinita, and all the vaulting to be painted by Perino del Vaga, with certain Prophets on the outer side, and two little boys holding the arms of that Cardinal. But the chapel remaining unfinished, with three walls still to be painted, when the Cardinal died, those fathers, without any regard for what was just and reasonable, sold that chapel to the Archbishop of Corfu; and it was afterwards given by that Archbishop to Taddeo to paint. Now although, out of respect for the church and from other reasons, it may have been well to find means of finishing the chapel, at least they should not have allowed the arms of the Cardinal to be removed from the part that was finished, only in order to place there those of the above-named Archbishop, which they could have set up in another place, instead of offering so manifest an affront to the memory of that good Cardinal. Having thus so many [Pg 233] works on his hands, Taddeo was every day urging Federigo to return from Venice. That Federigo, after having finished the chapel for the Patriarch, was negotiating to undertake to paint the principal wall of the Great Hall of the Council, where Antonio Viniziano had formerly painted; but the rivalry and the contentions that he suffered from the Venetian painters were the reason that neither they, with all their interest, nor he, likewise, obtained it.
Meanwhile Taddeo, having a desire to see Florence and the many works which, so he heard, Duke Cosimo had carried out and was still carrying out, and the beginning that his friend Giorgio Vasari was making in the Great Hall; Taddeo, I say, pretending one day to go to Caprarola in connection with the work that he was doing there, went off to Florence for the Festival of S. John, in company with Tiberio Calcagni, a young Florentine sculptor and architect. There, to say nothing of the city, he found vast pleasure in the works of the many excellent sculptors and painters, ancient as well as modern; and if he had not had so many charges and so many works on his hands, he would gladly have stayed there some months. Thus he saw the preparations of Vasari for the above-named Hall—namely, forty-four great pictures, of four, six, seven, or ten braccia each—in which he was executing figures for the most part of six or eight braccia, with the assistance only of the Fleming Giovanni Strada and Jacopo Zucchi, his disciples, and Battista Naldini, in all which he took the greatest pleasure, and, hearing that all had been executed in less than a year, it gave him great courage. Wherefore, having returned to Rome, he set his hand to the above-named chapel in the Trinita, with the resolve that he would surpass himself in the stories of Our Lady that were to be painted there, as will be related presently.
Now Federigo, although he was pressed to return from Venice, was not able to refuse to stay in that city for the Carnival in company with the architect Andrea Palladio. And Andrea, having made for the gentlemen of the Company of the Calza a theatre in wood after the manner of a Colosseum, in which a tragedy was to be performed, caused Federigo to execute for the decoration of the same twelve large scenes, each seven feet and a half square, with innumerable other stories of the actions of [Pg 234] Hyrcanus, King of Jerusalem, after the subject of the tragedy; in which work Federigo gained much honour, from its excellence and from the rapidity with which he executed it. Next, Palladio going to Friuli to found the Palace of Civitale, of which he had previously made the model, Federigo went with him in order to see that country; and there he drew many things that pleased him. Then, after having seen many things in Verona and in many other cities of Lombardy, he finally made his way to Florence, at the very time when festive preparations, rich and marvellous, were being made for the coming of Queen Joanna of Austria. Having arrived there, he executed, after the desire of the Lord Duke, a most beautiful and fanciful Hunt in colours on a vast canvas that covered the stage at the end of the Hall, and some scenes in chiaroscuro for an arch; all which gave infinite satisfaction. From Florence he went to Sant' Agnolo, to revisit his relatives and friends, and finally he arrived in Rome on the 16th of the January following; but he was of little assistance to Taddeo at that time, for the reason that the death of Pope Pius IV, followed by that of Cardinal Sant'Agnolo, interrupted the work of the Hall of Kings and that of the Farnese Palace. Whereupon Taddeo, who had finished another apartment of rooms at Caprarola, and had carried almost to completion the chapel in S. Marcello, proceeded to give his attention to the work of the Trinita, much at his leisure, and to execute the Passing of Our Lady, with the Apostles standing about the bier.
In the meantime, also, Taddeo had obtained for Federigo a chapel to be painted in fresco in the Church of the Reformed Priests of Jesus at the Obelisk of S. Mauro; and to that Federigo straightway set his hand. Taddeo, feigning to be angry because Federigo had delayed too long to return, appeared to care little for his arrival; but in truth he welcomed it greatly, as was afterwards seen from the result. For he was much annoyed by having to provide for his house (of which annoyance Federigo had been accustomed to relieve him), and by the anxious care of that brother who was employed as a goldsmith; but when Federigo came they put many inconveniences to rights, in order to be able to attend to their work with a quiet mind. The friends of Taddeo were seeking meanwhile to give him a wife, but he, being one who was accustomed to living free, [Pg 235] and feared that which generally happens (namely, that he would bring into his house, together with the wife, a thousand vexatious cares and annoyances), could never make up his mind to it. Nay, attending to his work in the Trinita, he proceeded to make the cartoon of the principal wall, on which there was going the Ascension of Our Lady into Heaven; while Federigo painted a picture of S. Peter in Prison for the Lord Duke of Urbino; another, wherein is a Madonna in Heaven with some Angels about her, which was to be sent to Milan; and a third with a figure of Opportunity, which was sent to Perugia.
The Cardinal of Ferrara had kept many painters and masters in stucco at work at the very beautiful villa that he has at Tivoli, and finally he sent Federigo there to paint two rooms, one of which is dedicated to Nobility, and the other to Glory; in which Federigo acquitted himself very well, executing there beautiful and fantastic inventions. That finished, he returned to the work of the above-mentioned chapel in Rome, which he has carried to completion, painting in it a choir of many Angels and various Glories, with God the Father sending down the Holy Spirit upon the Madonna, who is receiving the Annunciation from the Angel Gabriel, while about her are six Prophets, larger than life and very beautiful. Taddeo, meanwhile, continuing to paint the Assumption of the Madonna in fresco in the Trinita, appeared to be driven by nature to do in that work, as his last, the utmost in his power. And in truth it proved to be his last, for, having fallen ill of a sickness which at first appeared to be slight enough, and caused by the great heat that there was that year, and which afterwards became very grave, he died in the month of September in the year 1566; having first, like a good Christian, received the Sacraments of the Church, and seen the greater part of his friends, and leaving in his place his brother Federigo, who was also ill at that time. And so in a short time, Buonarroti, Salviati, Daniello, and Taddeo having been taken from the world, our arts have suffered a very great loss, and particularly the art of painting.
Taddeo was very bold in his work, and had a manner passing soft and pastose, and very far removed from the hardness often seen. He was very abundant in his compositions, and he made his [Pg 236] heads, hands, and nudes very beautiful, keeping them free of the many crudities over which certain painters labour beyond all reason, in order to make it appear that they understand anatomy and art; to which kind of men there often happens that which befell him who, from his seeking to be in his speech more Athenian than the Athenians, was recognized by a woman of the people to be no Athenian. Taddeo also handled colours with much delicacy, and he had great facility of manner, for he was much assisted by nature; but at times he sought to make too much use of it. He was so desirous of having something of his own, that he continued for a time to accept any sort of work for the sake of gain; but for all that he executed many, nay, innumerable works worthy of great praise. He kept a number of assistants in order to finish his works, for the reason that it is not possible to do otherwise. He was sanguine, hasty, and quick to take offence, and, in addition, much given to the pleasures of love; but nevertheless, although he was strongly inclined by nature to such pleasures, he contrived to conduct his affairs with a certain degree of decency, and very secretly. He was loving with his friends, and whenever he could help them he never spared himself.
At his death he left the work in the Trinita not yet uncovered, and the Great Hall in the Farnese Palace unfinished, and so also the works of Caprarola, but nevertheless these all remained in the hands of his brother Federigo, whom the patrons of the works are content to allow to give them completion, as he will do; and, in truth, Federigo will be heir to the talents of Taddeo no less than to his property. Taddeo was given burial by Federigo in the Ritonda of Rome, near the tabernacle where Raffaello da Urbino, his fellow-countryman, is buried; and certainly they are well placed, one beside the other, for the reason that even as Raffaello died at the age of thirty-seven and on the same day that he was born, which was Good Friday, so Taddeo was born on the first day of September, 1529, and died on the second day of the same month in the year 1566. Federigo is minded, if it should be granted to him, to restore the other tabernacle in the Ritonda, and to make some memorial in that place to his loving brother, to whom he knows himself to be deeply indebted.
[Pg 237] Now, since mention has been made above of Jacopo Barozzi of Vignuola, saying that after his architectural designs and directions the most illustrious Cardinal Farnese has built his rich and even regal villa of Caprarola, let me relate that the same Jacopo Barozzi of Vignuola, a Bolognese painter and architect, who is now fifty-eight years of age, was placed in his childhood and youth to learn the art of painting in Bologna, but did not make much proficience, because he did not receive good guidance at the beginning. And also, to tell the truth, he had by nature much more inclination for architecture than for painting, as was clearly manifest even at that time from his designs and from the few works of painting that he executed, for there were always to be seen in them pieces of architecture and perspective; and so strong and potent in him was that inclination of nature, that he may be said to have learned almost by himself, in a short time, both the first principles and also the greatest difficulties, and that very well. Wherefore, almost before he was known, various designs with most beautiful and imaginative fantasies were seen to issue from his hand, executed for the most part at the request of M. Francesco Guicciardini, at that time Governor of Bologna, and for others of his friends; which designs were afterwards put into execution in tinted woods inlaid after the manner of tarsia, by Fra Damiano da Bergamo, of the Order of S. Domenico in Bologna. Vignuola then went to Rome to work at painting, and to obtain from that art the means to assist his poor family; and at first he was employed at the Belvedere with Jacopo Melighini of Ferrara, the architect of Pope Paul III, drawing some architectural designs for him. But afterwards, there being in Rome at that time an academy of most noble lords and gentlemen who occupied themselves in reading Vitruvius (among whom were M. Marcello Cervini, who afterwards became Pope, Monsignor Maffei, M. Alessandro Manzuoli, and others), Vignuola set himself in their service to take complete measurements of all the antiquities of Rome, and to execute certain works after their fancy; which circumstance was of the greatest assistance to him both for learning and for profit. Meanwhile Francesco Primaticcio, the Bolognese painter, of whom there will be an account in another place, had arrived in Rome, and he made much use of Vignuola [Pg 238] in making moulds of a great part of the antiques in Rome, in order to take those moulds into France, and then to cast from them statues in bronze similar to the antiques; which work having been despatched, Primaticcio, in going to France, took Vignuola with him, in order to make use of him in matters of architecture and to have his assistance in casting in bronze the above-mentioned statues of which they had made the moulds; which things, both the one and the other, he did with much diligence and judgment. After two years had passed, he returned to Bologna, according to the promise made by him to Count Filippo Pepoli, in order to attend to the building of S. Petronio. In that place he consumed several years in discussions and disputes with certain others who were his competitors in the affairs there, without doing anything but design and cause to be constructed after his plans the canal that brings vessels into Bologna, whereas before that they could not come within three miles; than which work none better or more useful was ever executed, although Vignuola, the originator of an enterprise so useful and so praiseworthy, was poorly rewarded for it.
Pope Julius III having been elected in the year 1550, by means of Vasari Vignuola was appointed architect to his Holiness, and there was given to him the particular charge of conducting the Acqua Vergine and of superintending the works at the Vigna of Pope Julius, who took Vignuola into his service most willingly, because he had come to know him when he was Legate in Bologna. In that building, and in other works that he executed for that Pontiff, he endured much labour, but was badly rewarded for it. Finally Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, having recognized the genius of Vignuola, to whom he always showed much favour, desired, in carrying out the building of his Palace at Caprarola, that the whole work should spring from the fanciful design and invention of Vignuola. And, in truth, the judgment of that lord in making choice of so excellent an architect was no less than the greatness of his mind in setting his hand to an edifice so noble and grand, which, although it is in a place where it can be enjoyed but little by men in general, being out of the way, yet is none the less marvellous in its site, and very suitable for one who wishes at times to withdraw from the vexations and tumult [Pg 239] of the city. This edifice, then, has the form of a pentagon, and is divided into four sets of apartments, without counting the front part, where the principal door is; in which front part is a loggia forty palms in breadth and eighty in length. On one side there curves in a round form a spiral staircase, ten palms wide across the steps, and twenty palms across the space in the centre, which gives light to the staircase, which curves from the base to the third or uppermost story; and these steps are all supported by double columns with cornices, which curve in a round in accordance with the staircase. The whole is a rich and well-varied work, beginning with the Doric Order, and continuing in the Ionic, the Corinthian, and the Composite, with a wealth of balusters, niches, and other fanciful ornaments, which make it a rare thing, and most beautiful. Opposite to this staircase—namely, at the other of the corners that are one on either side of the above-mentioned loggia of the entrance—there is a suite of rooms that begins in a circular vestibule equal in breadth to the staircase, and leads to a great hall on the ground floor, eighty palms long and forty broad. This hall is wrought in stucco and painted with stories of Jove—namely, his birth, his being nursed by the Goat Amaltheia, and her coronation, with two other stories on either side of the last-named, showing her being placed in the heavens among the forty-eight Heavenly Signs, and another similar story of the same Goat, which alludes, as also do the others, to the name of Caprarola. On the walls of this hall are perspective-views of buildings drawn by Vignuola and coloured by his son-in-law, which are very beautiful and make the room seem larger than it is. Beside this hall is a smaller hall of forty palms, which comes exactly at the next corner, and in it, besides the works in stucco, are painted things that are all significant of Spring. Continuing from this little hall towards the other angle (that is, towards the point of the pentagon, where a tower has been begun), one goes into three chambers, each forty palms broad and thirty long. In the first of these are various inventions executed in stucco and painting, representing Summer, to which season this first chamber is dedicated. In that which follows there is painted and wrought in the same manner the season of Autumn; and in the last, which is sheltered from the north, and decorated [Pg 240] likewise in the same manner, there is represented in a similar kind of work the season of Winter.
So far we have spoken (with regard to the floor that is over the underground rooms of the basement, cut out of the tufa, where there are rooms for the servants, kitchens, larders, and wine-cellars) of the half of this pentagonal edifice—namely, of the part on the right hand. Opposite to that part, on the left hand, there are rooms exactly equal in number and of the same size. Within the five angles of the pentagon Vignuola has made a circular court, into which all the apartments of the edifice open with their doors; which doors, I mean, all open into the circular loggia surrounding the court, which is eighteen palms in breadth, while the diameter of the remaining space in the court is ninety-five palms and five inches. The pilasters of the loggia (which is divided up by niches), supporting the arches and the vaulting, are in couples, with a niche in the centre, and twenty in number; and each couple covers a breadth of fifteen palms, which is also the breadth of the space of the arches. Around the loggia, at the angles that form the shape of the round, are four spiral staircases, which lead from the basement of the palace up to the top, for the convenience of the edifice and of the rooms. And there are reservoirs that collect the rain-water, which feed a very large and beautiful cistern in the centre; to say nothing of the windows and innumerable other conveniences, which make this building appear to be, as indeed it is, a rare and most beautiful fabric. And, besides having the site and form of a fortress, it is furnished on the outer side with an oval flight of steps, with ditches all around, and with drawbridges made with beautiful invention and in a novel manner, which lead into gardens full of rich and well-varied fountains, graceful parterres of verdure, and, in short, all that is required for a truly regal villa.
Now, ascending by the great spiral staircase from the level of the court to the other apartment above, one finds already finished, over the part of which we have spoken, an equal number of rooms, and also the chapel, which is opposite to the principal round staircase on this floor. In the hall that is exactly above that of Jove, and of equal size, there are painted by the hands of Taddeo and his young men, with very rich and [Pg 241] beautiful ornaments of stucco, the actions of the illustrious men of the House of Farnese. On the vaulting are compartments with six scenes, four square and two round, which follow right round the cornice of this hall, and in the centre are three ovals, accompanied along their length by two smaller and rectangular pictures, in one of which is painted Fame, and in the other Bellona. In the first of the three ovals is Peace, in the central oval the ancient arms of the House of Farnese, with the helmet-crest, above which is the Unicorn, and in the last is Religion. In the first of the six above-mentioned scenes, which is a round, is Guido Farnese, with many persons, all well executed, about him, and with this inscription below:
GUIDO FARNESIUS, URBIS VETERIS PRINCIPATUM CIVIBUS IPSIS DEFERENTIBUS ADEPTUS, LABORANTI INTESTINIS DISCORDIIS CIVITATI, SEDITIOSA FACTIONE EJECTA, PACEM ET TRANQUILLITATEM RESTITUIT, ANNO 1323.
In an oblong picture is Pietro Niccolò Farnese, who is delivering Bologna, with this inscription below:
PETRUS NICOLAUS, SEDIS ROMANÆ POTENTISSIMIS HOSTIBUS MEMORABILI PRÆLIO SUPERATIS, IMMINENTI OBSIDIONIS PERICULO BONONIAM LIBERAT, ANNO SALUTIS 1361.
In the rectangular picture next to this is Pietro Farnese, elected Captain of the Florentines, with this inscription:
PETRUS FARNESIUS, REIP. FLORENTINÆ IMPERATOR, MAGNIS PISANORUM COPIIS ... URBEM FLORENTIAM TRIUMPHANS INGREDITUR, ANNO 1362.
In the other round picture, which is opposite to that described above, is another Pietro Farnese, who routs the enemies of the Roman Church at Orbatello, with his inscription.
In one of the two other rectangular pictures, which are of equal size, is Signor Ranieri Farnese, elected General of the Florentines in place of the above-named Signor Pietro, his brother, with this inscription:
RAINERIUS FARNESIUS A FLORENTINIS DIFFICILI REIP. TEMPORE IN PETRI FRATRIS MORTUI LOCUM COPIARUM OMNIUM DUX DELIGITUR, ANNO 1362.
RANUTIUS FARNESIUS, PAULI TERTII PAPÆ AVUS, EUGENIO TERTIO P.M. ROSÆ AUREÆ MUNERE INSIGNITUS, PONTIFICII EXERCITUS IMPERATOR CONSTITUITUR, ANNO CHRISTI 1435.
In short, there are on this vaulting vast numbers of most beautiful figures, besides the stucco-work and other ornaments overlaid with gold.
On the walls are eight scenes, two to each wall. On the first, in a scene on the right hand as one enters, is Pope Julius III confirming Duke Ottavio and the Prince his son in the possession of Parma and Piacenza, in the presence of Cardinal Farnese, Sant'Agnolo his brother, the Camarlingo Santa Fiore, the elder Salviati, Chieti, Carpi, Polo, and Morone, all being portraits from life; with this inscription:
JULIUS III, P.M., ALEXANDRO FARNESIO AUCTORE, OCTAVIO FARNESIO, EJUS FRATRI, PARMAM AMISSAM RESTITUIT, ANNO SALUTIS 1550.
In the second scene is Cardinal Farnese going to Worms as Legate to the Emperor Charles V, and his Majesty and the Prince, his son, are coming forth to meet him, with a vast multitude of Barons, and among them the King of the Romans; with the proper inscription. On the wall on the left hand as one enters, in the first scene, is the war fought against the Lutherans in Germany, where Duke Ottavio Farnese was Legate, in the year 1546, with the inscription; and in the second are the above-named Cardinal Farnese and the Emperor with his sons, who are all four under a baldachin carried by various persons portrayed from life, among whom is Taddeo, the master of the work, with a company of many lords all around. On one of the head-walls, or rather, ends, are two scenes, and between them an oval, in which is the portrait of King Philip, with this inscription:
PHILIPPO HISPANIARUM REGI MAXIMO, OB EXIMIA IN DOMUM FARNESIAM MERITA.
In one of the scenes is Duke Ottavio taking Madama Margherita of Austria as his wife, with Pope Paul III in the centre, and portraits of Cardinal Farnese the younger, the Cardinal of Carpi, Duke Pier Luigi, [Pg 243] M. Durante, Eurialo da Cingoli, M. Giovanni Riccio of Montepulciano, the Bishop of Como, Signora Livia Colonna, Claudia Mancina, Settimia, and Donna Maria di Mendoza. In the other is Duke Orazio taking as his wife the daughter of King Henry of France, with this inscription:
HENRICUS II, VALESIUS, GALLORUM REX, HORATIO FARNESIO CASTRI DUCI DIANAM FILIAM IN MATRIMONIUM COLLOCAT, ANNO SALUTIS 1552.
In which scene, besides the portrait of Diana herself with the royal mantle, and that of her husband Duke Orazio, are portraits of Caterina de' Medici, Queen of France, Marguerite, the sister of the King, the King of Navarre, the Constable, the Duke of Guise, the Duke of Nemours, the Admiral Prince of Condé, the younger Cardinal of Lorraine, Guise not yet a Cardinal, Signor Piero Strozzi, Madame de Montpensier, and Mademoiselle de Rohan.
On the other head-wall, opposite to that already described, are likewise two other scenes, with the oval in the centre, in which is the portrait of King Henry of France, with this inscription:
HENRICO FRANCORUM REGI MAX. FAMILIÆ FARNESIÆ CONSERVATORI.
In one of the scenes (namely, in that which is on the right hand) Pope Paul III is investing Duke Orazio, who is kneeling, with a priestly robe, and making him Prefect of Rome, with Duke Pier Luigi close at hand, and other lords around; and with these words:
PAULUS III P.M. HORATIUM FARNESIUM NEPOTEM, SUMMÆ SPEI ADOLESCENTEM, PRÆFECTUM URBIS CREAT, ANNO SAL. 1549.
And in this scene are portraits of the Cardinal of Paris, Viseo, Morone, Badia, Trento, Sfondrato, and Ardinghelli. In the other scene, beside the last-named, the same Pope is giving the General's baton to Pier Luigi and his sons, who were not yet Cardinals; with portraits of the Pope, Pier Luigi Farnese, the Camarlingo, Duke Ottavio, Orazio, the Cardinal of Capua, Simonetta, Jacobaccio, San Jacopo, Ferrara, Signor Ranuccio Farnese as a young man, Giovio, Molza, Marcello Cervini, who afterwards became Pope, the Marquis of Marignano, Signor Giovan Battista Castaldo, Signor Alessandro Vitelli, and Signor Giovan Battista Savelli.
[Pg 244] Coming now to the little hall which is beside the hall just described, and which is above the Hall of Spring, in the vaulting, which is adorned with a vast and rich decoration in stucco and gold, in the recess in the centre, there is the Coronation of Pope Paul III, with four spaces that form a cruciform inscription, with these words:
PAULUS III FARNESIUS, PONTIFEX MAXIMUS, DEO ET HOMINIBUS APPROBANTIBUS, SACRA TIARA SOLEMNI RITU CORONATUR, ANNO SALUTIS 1534, III NON. NOVEMB.
Then follow four scenes above the cornice—namely, one over every wall. In the first the Pope is blessing the galleys at Cività Vecchia, when about to send them to Tunis in Barbary in the year 1535. In the next the same Pope is excommunicating the King of England in the year 1537; with the proper inscription. In the third is a fleet of galleys which the Emperor and the Venetians fitted out against the Turk, with the authority and assistance of the Pontiff, in the year 1538. In the fourth, Perugia having rebelled against the Church, the people of that city go to seek pardon in the year 1540. On the walls of the same little hall are four large scenes, one to each wall, with windows and doors between. In the first large scene the Emperor Charles V, having returned victorious from Tunis, is kissing the feet of Pope Paul, of the Farnese family, in Rome, in the year 1535. In the next, which is above the door on the left hand, is the story of the peace that Pope Paul III brought about at Busseto between the Emperor Charles V and Francis I of France, in the year 1538; in which scene are these portraits—the elder Bourbon, King Francis, King Henry, the elder Lorenzo, Tournon, the younger Lorenzo, the younger Bourbon, and two sons of King Francis. In the third the same Pope is making Cardinal di Monte his Legate at the Council of Trent; and there are innumerable portraits. In the last, which is between two windows, the same Pontiff is creating many Cardinals in preparation for the Council, among whom there are four who became Popes in succession after him—Julius III, Marcello Cervini, Paul IV, and Pius IV. To put it briefly, this little hall is very richly adorned with all that is required in such a place.
In the first chamber next to the little hall, which is dedicated to [Pg 245] Dress, and likewise richly wrought in stucco and gold, there is in the centre a Sacrifice, with three nude figures, among which is an armed figure of Alexander the Great, who is casting some garments of skin upon the fire; and in many other scenes that are in the same place, one sees how men discovered the way to make garments from plants and other wild products; but it would take too long to seek to describe the whole in full. From this chamber one enters into a second, dedicated to Sleep, for which, when Taddeo had to paint it, he received the inventions given below from the Commendatore Annibale Caro, at the commission of the Cardinal; and, to the end that the whole may be the better understood, we shall write here the advice of Caro in his own words, which are these—
"The subjects that the Cardinal has commanded me to give you for the pictures in the Palace of Caprarola, it is not enough for them to be explained by word of mouth, because, besides the invention, we must look to the disposition of the figures, the attitudes, the colours, and a number of other considerations, all in accordance with the descriptions that I find of the things that appear to me to be suitable; wherefore I shall put down on paper all that occurs to me in the matter, as briefly and as distinctly as I shall be able. And first with regard to the chamber with the flat vaulting—for of any other, up to the present, he has not given me the charge—it appears to me that since it is destined to contain the bed for the person of his most illustrious lordship, there must be executed there things in keeping with the place and out of the common both in the invention and in the workmanship. Now, to declare my conception first in general, I would have a Night painted there, because, besides that it would be appropriate to sleep, it would be a subject not very customary and different from those of the other rooms, and would give you an occasion of executing rare and beautiful works in your art, since the strong lights and dark shadows that go into such a subject are wont to give no little grace and relief to the figures; and it would please me to have the time of this Night close upon the dawn, to the end that the things represented there may be visible without improbability. And to come to the details and to their disposition, it is necessary that we come to an understanding [Pg 246] first about the situation and the distribution of the chamber. Let us say, then, that it is divided, as indeed it is, into vaulting and walls, or façades, as we wish to call them. The vaulting has a sunk oval in the centre and four great spandrels at the corners, which, drawing together little by little and continuing one with the other along the façades, embrace the above-mentioned oval. The walls, also, are four, and between the spandrels they form four lunettes.
"Now, let us give names to all these parts, with the divisions that we shall make in the whole chamber, and we shall thus be able to distinguish each part on every side, all the way round. Dividing it into five sections, then, the first shall be the 'head'; and this I presume to be next to the garden. The second, which must be that opposite to the first, we shall call the 'foot'; the third, on the right hand, we shall call the 'right'; the fourth, on the left hand, the 'left'; and the fifth, situated in the midst of the others, shall be named the 'centre.' Thus, distinguishing all the parts with these names, we shall speak, for example, of the lunette at the head, the façade at the foot, the concavity on the left, the horn on the right, and so with any other part that it may be necessary to name; and to the spandrels that are at the corners, each between two of these boundaries, we shall give the name both of the one and of the other. And thus, also, we shall determine on the pavement below the situation of the bed, which, in my opinion, must be along the façade at the foot, with the head turned to the left-hand façade.
"Now, all the parts having received a name, let us turn to give a form to them all in general, and then to each by itself. First of all, the concavity of the vaulting, or rather, the oval, shall be represented—so the Cardinal has judiciously determined—as being all heaven. The rest of the vaulting, comprising the four spandrels together with the border that we have already mentioned as enclosing the oval all around, shall be made to appear as the unbroken surface within the chamber, and as resting upon the façades, with some beautiful architectural design of your own devising. The four lunettes I would have counterfeited as likewise concave; and, whereas the oval above represents a heaven, these must represent heaven, earth, and sea, as if without the chamber, in accordance [Pg 247] with the various figures and scenes that shall be there. And since, the vaulting being very flat, the lunettes are so low that they will not hold any but little figures, I would divide each lunette into three parts along its length, and, leaving the ends in a line with the height of the spandrels, I would deepen the centre part below that line, in such a manner that it may be like a great high window and show the exterior of the room, as it were, with figures and scenes proportionate in size to the others. And the two extremities that remain on either side, like horns to the lunette—and horns henceforward they will be called—shall be left low, of the height that they are above that line, and in each of them must be painted a figure seated or recumbent, and seeming to be either within or without the room, whichever you please, for you must choose what looks best; and what I say of one lunette I say of all four.
"To return to the interior of the chamber as a whole, it appears to me that it should be in itself all in darkness, save in so far as the concavities both of the oval above and of the large windows at the sides may give it a certain degree of light, partly from the heaven, with its celestial lights, and partly from the earth with fires that must be painted there, as will be described later. At the same time, from the centre of the room to the lower end, I would have it that the nearer one may approach to the foot, where the Night is to be, the greater shall be the darkness, and that in like manner in the other half, from the centre to the upper end, in proportion as one approaches step by step to the head, where Aurora is to be, it shall grow continually lighter.
"Having thus disposed of the chamber as a whole, let us proceed to distribute the subjects, giving to each part its own. In the oval that is in the vaulting, you must paint at the head, as we have said, a figure of Aurora. This figure, I find, may be made in several ways, but of all these I shall choose that which in my opinion can be done with the greatest grace in painting. You must paint, then, a maiden of such beauty as the poets strive to express with words, composing her of roses, gold, purple, dew, and other suchlike graces; and so much for the colours and flesh-tints of her person. As for her dress, composing out of many one that appears most suitable, we must reflect that, even as she has three stages and three [Pg 248] distinct colours, so she has three names—Alba, Vermiglia, and Rancia; and for this reason I would make her down to the girdle a garment delicate in texture, as it were transparent, and white; from the girdle down to the knees an outer garment of scarlet, with certain pinkings and tassels in imitation of the reflections seen on the clouds when she is vermilion, and from the knees down to the feet of the colour of gold, in order to represent her when she is orange, taking heed that this dress must be slit from the thighs downwards, in order to show the bare legs; and both the under garment and the outer must be blown by the wind, so as to flutter in folds. The arms, also, must be naked and of a rosy flesh-tint; on the shoulders you must make her wings of various colours, and on the head a crown of roses; and in her hands you must place a lamp or a lighted torch, or rather, there must go before her a Cupid who is carrying a torch, and after her another who with another torch awakens Tithonus. She must be seated on a gilded throne in a chariot likewise gilded, drawn by a winged Pegasus or by two horses, for she is depicted both in the one way and in the other. As for the colours of the horses, one must be shining white and the other shining red, in order to denote them according to the names that Homer gives them of Lampus and Phaëthon. You must make her rising from a tranquil sea, which should appear rippled, luminous, and glancing. On the wall behind, upon the right-hand horn, you must paint her husband Tithonus, and on the left her lover Cephalus. Tithonus should be an old man white as snow, on an orange-coloured bed, or rather, in a cradle, according to those who make him, on account of his great age, once more a child; and he should be shown in the act of holding her back, or gazing on her with amorous eyes, or sighing after her, as if her departure grieved him. Cephalus must be a most beautiful young man dressed in a doublet girt at the waist, with his buskins on his feet, with the spear, which must have the iron head gilded, in his hand, and with a dog at his side, in the act of entering into a wood, as if caring nothing for her by reason of the love that he bears to his Procris. Between Cephalus and Tithonus, in the space with the great window, behind the Aurora, there must shoot upwards some few rays of the sun, of a splendour more vivid [Pg 249] than that of the Aurora; but these must be cut off, so as not to be seen, by a large figure of a woman who must appear before them. This woman shall be Vigilance, and she must be so painted that it may appear that she is illumined from behind by the rising sun, and that, in order to forestall him, she is entering into the chamber by the great window that has been mentioned. Let her form be that of a tall, valorous, and splendid woman, with the eyes well open and the brows well arched; dressed down to the feet in a transparent veil, which is girt at the waist; leaning with one hand on a lance, and with the other gathering together a fold of her gown. Let her stand firmly on the right foot, and, holding the left foot suspended, appear from one side to be rooted to the ground, and from the other to be ready to step out. Let her raise her head in order to gaze at Aurora, and appear to be angry that she has risen before her; and let her have on the head a helmet with a cock upon it, which shall be in the act of beating its wings and crowing. All this must be behind the Aurora; and in front of her, in the heaven of the concave oval, I would make certain little figures of girls one behind another, some more bright and some less bright, according as they are more or less near to the light of the Aurora, in order to represent the Hours which go before her and the sun. These Hours shall be painted with the vestments, garlands, and headdresses of virgins, and winged, with the hands full of flowers, as if they were scattering these about.
"On the opposite side, at the foot of the oval, there shall be Night, and even as Aurora is rising, Night shall be sinking; as the one shows her front, the other shall turn her back; as the first is issuing from a tranquil sea, the second shall be plunging into a sea that is troubled and dark; the horses of the first come with the breast forward, those of the second shall show their croups; and so, also, the person of Night shall be altogether different from that of Aurora. Her flesh-tint shall be dark, dark her mantle, dark her hair, and dark her wings; and these shall be open, as if she were flying. She shall hold her hands on high, and in one a white babe that is sleeping, to represent Sleep, and in the other a black babe that appears to be sleeping, to represent Death; for of both these she is said to be the mother. She shall appear to be sinking with the [Pg 250] head downwards and wrapped in thicker shadow, and the heaven about her shall be of a deeper blue and dotted with many stars. Her car shall be of bronze, with the wheels divided into four spaces, to denote her four watches. Then, on the façade opposite (namely, at the foot), even as Aurora has on either side Tithonus and Cephalus, Night shall have Oceanus and Atlas. Oceanus shall be painted on the right, a great figure of a man with the beard and hair dripping and dishevelled, and both from the beard and from the hair there shall issue here and there some heads of dolphins. He shall be depicted as resting on a car drawn by whales, with the Tritons all around in front of him, with their trumpets, and also the Nymphs, and behind him some beasts of the sea; or, if not with all these things, at least with some of them, according to the space that you will have, which to me appears little for so much matter. For Atlas, on the left hand, there shall be painted a mountain with the breast, arms, and all the upper parts of a robust man, bearded and muscular, in the act of upholding the heavens, as his figure is generally shown. Lower down, likewise, over against the Vigilance that we have placed opposite to Aurora, there should be placed a figure of Sleep; but, since it appears to me better, for several reasons, that Sleep should be over the bed, we must place in his stead a figure of Repose. As for this Repose, I find, indeed, that she was worshipped, and that temples were dedicated to her; but I can by no means find how she was figured, unless her figure was that of Security, which I do not believe, because security is a thing of the mind and repose of the body. We must therefore figure a Repose of our own devising, in this manner: a young maiden of pleasing aspect, who, being weary, yet does not lie down, but sleeps seated with the head resting on the left arm. She shall have a spear with the head lying against her shoulder and the foot fixed in the ground, and shall let one arm hang limply down it, and have one leg crossed over it, in the attitude of resting for the restoration of her strength, and not from indolence. She shall have a crown of poppies, and a sceptre laid on one side, but not so far distant that she cannot readily take it up again; and whereas Vigilance has upon her head a cock crowing, so to her we may give a sitting hen, in order to signify that even when resting she is active.
[Pg 251] "Within the same oval, on the right hand, you shall paint a Moon. Her figure shall be that of a maiden of about eighteen years, tall and virginal in aspect, after the likeness of Apollo, with long tresses, thick and somewhat waved, or wearing on the head one of those caps that are called Phrygian, wide at the foot and pointed and twisted at the top, like the Doge's hat, with two wings over the brow that must hang down and cover the ears, and with two little horns jutting from the head, as of the crescent moon; or, after Apuleius, with a flat disk, polished and shining in the manner of a mirror, on the centre of the brow, which must have on either side of it some serpents and over it some few ears of corn, and on the head a crown of dittany, after the Greeks, or of various flowers, after Marcian, or of helichrysum, after certain others. Her dress some would have reaching down to the feet, others only to the knees, girt under the breasts and crossed below the navel after the fashion of a nymph, with a little mantle on the shoulder clasped over the muscle on the right side, and on the feet buskins wrought in a pleasing pattern. Pausanias, alluding, I believe, to Diana, makes her dressed in deerskin; Apuleius, taking her perchance for Isis, gives her a vestment of the finest veiling in various colours, white, yellow, and red, and another garment all black, but bright and shining, dotted with many stars and with a moon in the centre, and all around it a border with ornaments of fruits and flowers hanging down after the manner of tassels. Of these vestments, take whichever looks best. The arms you must make bare, with the sleeves broad; with the right hand she must hold a lighted torch, and with the left an unbent bow, which, according to Claudian, is of horn, and, according to Ovid, of gold. Make it as seems best to you, and attach the quiver to her shoulders. She is found in Pausanias with two serpents in the left hand, and in Apuleius she has a gilded vase with a serpent as a handle, which appears as if swollen with poison, the foot of the vase being adorned with palm leaves; but by this I believe that he means to indicate Isis, and I have therefore resolved that you shall represent her with the bow, as described above. She shall ride on a car drawn by horses, one black and the other white, or, if you desire variety, by a mule, after Festus Pompeius, or by bullocks, after Claudian and Ausonius; [Pg 252] and if you choose bullocks, they must have the horns very small and a white patch on the right flank. The attitude of the Moon must be that of looking down from the heaven in the oval towards the horn of the façade that looks out over the garden, where you must place her lover Endymion, and she shall lean down from the car to kiss him, and, not being able by reason of the interposition of the border, she shall gaze lovingly upon him and illumine him with her radiance. For Endymion you must make a beautiful young shepherd, asleep at the foot of Mount Latmus. In the horn on the other side there shall be Pan, the God of Shepherds, who was enamoured of the Moon; his figure is very well known. Round his neck place his pipes, and with both hands he shall hold out towards the Moon a skein of white wool, with which he is fabled to have won her love; and with that present he must appear to be persuading her to come down to live with him. In the rest of the space of the same great window you must paint a scene, and that shall be the scene of the sacrifices to the Lemures, which men used to hold at night in order to drive evil spirits from their houses. The ritual of these sacrifices was to go about, with the hands washed and the feet bare, scattering black beans; first rolling them about in the mouth, and then throwing them over the shoulder; and among the company were some who made a noise by sounding basins and suchlike instruments of copper.
"On the left side of the oval you must paint Mercury in the ordinary manner, with the little winged cap, with the winged sandals on the feet, with the Caduceus in the left hand, and with the purse in the right; altogether nude, save for his little mantle on the shoulder; a most beautiful youth, but with a natural beauty, without any artifice; of a cheerful countenance, spirited eyes, beardless, or with the first down, with reddish hair, and narrow in the shoulders. Some place wings over his ears, and make certain golden feathers coming out of his hair. The attitude you may make as you please, provided only that it shows him gliding down from Heaven in order to infuse sleep, and, turning towards the side of the bed, about to touch the tester with his wand. On the left-hand façade, in the horn next to the façade at the foot, we might have the Lares, his two sons, who were the tutelary spirits of private houses; namely, two [Pg 253] young men dressed in the skins of dogs, with certain garments girt up and thrown over the left shoulder in such a way that they may come out under the right, in order to signify that they are unencumbered and ready to guard the house. They shall sit one beside the other, each holding a spear in the right hand, and between them, in the centre, there shall be a dog, and above them a small head of Vulcan, wearing a little cap, with a smith's pincers beside it. In the other horn, next to the façade at the head, you must paint a Battus being converted into stone for having revealed the cattle stolen by Mercury. Let him be an old shepherd seated, showing with the forefinger of the right arm the place where the cattle were hidden, and leaning with the left arm on a stick or rod, the herdsman's staff; and from the waist downwards he must be of black stone of the colour of basanite, into which stone he was converted. Then in the rest of the great window you must paint the scene of the sacrifice that the ancients used to offer to Mercury to the end that their sleep might not be interrupted; and to represent this it is necessary to make an altar with his statue upon it, at the foot of that a fire, and all around persons who are throwing into it pieces of wood for burning, and who, having in their hands cups full of wine, are sprinkling part of the wine and drinking the rest.
"In the centre of the oval, in order to fill up all the space of the heaven, I would paint Twilight, as being the mean between Aurora and Night. To represent him, I find that one must paint a young man wholly naked, sometimes with wings and sometimes without, and with two lighted torches, one of which we must show being kindled at that of Aurora, and the other held out towards Night. Some represent this young man, with the same two torches, as riding on one of the horses of the Sun or of Aurora, but this would not be a composition suitable for our purpose; wherefore we shall make him as described above, turned towards Night, and place behind him, between his legs, a great star, which shall be that of Venus, because Venus, Phosphorus, Hesperus, and Twilight seem to be regarded as one and the same thing. And with the exception of this star, see to it that all the lesser stars near the Aurora shall have disappeared.
[Pg 254] "Now, having by this time filled up all the exterior of the chamber both above in the oval and on the sides and façades, it remains for us to come to the interior, the four spandrels of the vaulting. Beginning with that over the bed, which is between the left-hand façade and that at the foot, you must paint Sleep there; and in order to figure him, you must first figure his home. Ovid places it in Lemnos and among the Cimmerii, Homer in the Ægean Sea, Statius among the Ethiopians, and Ariosto in Arabia. Wherever it may be, it is enough to depict a mountain, such an one as may be imagined where there is always darkness and never any sun; at the foot of it a deep hollow, through which water shall pass, as still as death, in order to signify that it makes no murmur, and this water must be of a sombre hue, because they make it a branch of Lethe. Within this hollow shall be a bed, which, being fabled to be of ebony, shall be black in colour and covered with black draperies. In this bed shall be placed Sleep, a young man of perfect beauty, for they make him surpassing beautiful and serene; nude, according to some, and according to others clothed in two garments, one black below and another white over it, with wings on the shoulders, and, according to Statius, also at the top of the head. Under his arm he shall hold a horn, which shall appear to be spilling a liquid of a livid hue over the bed, in order to denote Oblivion; although others make the horn full of fruits. In one hand he shall hold the wand, and in the other three poppy-heads. He shall be sleeping like one sick, with the head and the limbs hanging limp, as if wholly relaxed in slumber. About his head shall be seen Morpheus, Icelus, and Phantasus, and a great number of Dreams, all which are his children. The Dreams shall be little figures, some of a beautiful aspect and others hideous, as being things that partly please and partly terrify. Let them, likewise, have wings, and also twisted feet, as being unstable and uncertain things, and let them hover and whirl about him, making a kind of dramatic spectacle by transforming themselves into things possible and impossible. Morpheus is called by Ovid the creator and fashioner of figures, and I would therefore make him in the act of fashioning various masks with grotesque faces and placing some of them on feet. Icelus, they say, transforms himself into many shapes, and him I would figure [Pg 255] in such a way that as a whole he may have the appearance of a man, and yet may have parts of a wild beast, of a bird, and of a serpent, as the same Ovid describes him. Phantasus, they have it, transforms himself into various inanimate things, and him, also, we may represent, after the words of Ovid, partly of stone, partly of water, and partly of wood. You must feign that in this place there are two gates, one of ivory, whence there issue the false dreams, and one of horn, whence the true dreams come; the true shall be more distinct in colour, more luminous, and better executed, and the false shall be confused, sombre, and imperfect.
"In the next spandrel, between the façade at the foot and that on the right hand, you shall place Brizo, the Goddess of prophecy and the interpretress of dreams. For her I cannot find the vestments, but I would make her in the manner of a Sibyl, seated at the foot of the elm described by Virgil, under the branches of which are placed innumerable images, which, falling from those branches, must be shown flying about her in the forms that we have given them; as has been related, some lighter and some darker, some broken and some indistinct, and others almost wholly invisible; in order to represent by these the dreams, the visions, the oracles, the phantasms, and the vain things that are seen in sleep (for into these five kinds Macrobius appears to divide them); and she shall be as it were lost in thought, interpreting them, and shall have about her persons offering to her baskets filled with all manner of things, excepting only fishes.
"In the spandrel between the right-hand façade and that at the head it will be well to place Harpocrates, the God of Silence, because this, presenting itself at the first glance before those who enter by the door that leads from the great painted chamber, will warn them as they enter that they must not make any noise. His figure is that of a young man, or rather, of a boy, black in colour, from his being God of the Egyptians, and with his finger to his mouth in the act of commanding silence. He shall carry in his hand a branch of a peach-tree, and, if you think it well, a garland of the leaves of the same tree. They feign that he was born weak in the legs, and that, having been killed, his mother Isis restored him to life; and for this reason some make him stretched out on the [Pg 256] ground, and others in the lap of his mother, with the feet joined together. But, for the sake of harmony with the other figures, I would make him standing, supported in some way, or rather, seated, like that of the most illustrious Cardinal Sant'Agnolo, which is likewise winged and holds a horn of plenty. He shall have about him persons offering to him, as was the custom, first-fruits of lentils and other vegetables, and also of peaches, as mentioned above. Others used to make for this same God a figure without a face, with a little cap on the head, and about him a wolf's skin, all covered with eyes and ears. Take which of these two you please.
"In the last spandrel, between the façade at the head and that on the left, it will be well to place Angerona, the Goddess of Secrecy, which figure, coming within the same door of entrance, will admonish those who come out of the chamber to keep secret all that they have seen and heard, as is the duty of the servants of noblemen. The figure is that of a woman placed upon an altar, with the mouth bound and sealed. I know not with what vestments she used to be depicted, but I would envelop her in a long gown covering her whole person, and would represent her as shrugging her shoulders. Around her there must be painted some priests, by whom sacrifices used to be offered to her before the gate in the Curia, to the end that it might be unlawful for any person to reveal to the prejudice of the Republic any matter that might be discussed there.
"The space within the spandrels being filled up, it now only remains to say that around all this work it seems to me that there should be a frieze to encircle it on every side, and in this I would make either grotesques or small scenes with little figures. The matter of these I would have in harmony with the subjects already given above, each in accord with that nearest to it; and if you paint little scenes, it would please me to have them representing the actions that men and also animals do at the hour that we have fixed there. Now, beginning at the head, I would paint in the frieze of that façade, as things appropriate to the Dawn, artisans, workmen, and persons of various kinds who, having risen, are returning to the labours of their pursuits—as smiths to the forge, men of letters to their studies, huntsmen to the open country, and muleteers to [Pg 257] the road, and above all would I like to have the poor old woman from Petrarca rising from her spinning and lighting the fire, with her feet bare and her clothes dishevelled. And if you think fit to make grotesques of animals there, make them of birds singing, geese going forth to their pasture, cocks announcing the day, and similar fancies. In the frieze on the façade at the foot, in accord with the darkness there, I would make persons going fowling by night, spies, adulterers, climbers of windows, and other suchlike things; and for grotesques, porcupines, hedgehogs, badgers, a peacock with the tail spread, signifying the night of stars, owls large and small, bats, and suchlike animals. In the frieze on the right-hand façade you must paint things in keeping with the Moon, such as fishers of the night, mariners navigating with the compass, necromancers, witches, and the like; for grotesques, a beacon-tower in the distance, nets, weir-baskets with some fishes in them, crabs feeding by the light of the moon, and, if there be space enough, an elephant kneeling in adoration of her. And, finally, in the frieze on the left-hand façade, mathematicians with their instruments for measuring, thieves, false-coiners, robbers of buried treasure, shepherds with their folds still closed, lying around their fires, and the like; and for animals I would make there wolves, foxes, apes, weasels, and any other treacherous animals that lie in wait for other creatures.
"In this part I have placed these phantasies thus at random in order to suggest what kinds of inventions could be painted there; but, since they are not things that need to be described, I leave you to imagine them in your own manner, knowing that painters are by their nature full of resource and grace in inventing such bizarre fantasies. And now, having filled in all the parts of the work both within and without the chamber, there is no occasion for us to say any more, save that you must discuss the whole matter with the most illustrious Monsignore, and, according to his taste, adding or taking away whatever may be necessary, you must strive on your part to do yourself honour. Fare you well."
Now, although all these beautiful inventions of Caro's were very ingenious, fanciful, and worthy of praise, nevertheless Taddeo was not able to carry into execution more than the place would contain; but [Pg 258] those that he painted there were the greater part, and they were executed by him with much grace and in a most beautiful manner. Next to this chamber, in the last of the three, which is dedicated to Solitude, Taddeo, with the help of his assistants, painted Christ preaching to the Apostles in the desert and in the woods, with a S. John on the right hand that is very well executed. In another scene, which is opposite to the first, are painted many figures of men who are living in the forest in order to avoid the conversation of mankind; and these certain others are seeking to disturb, throwing stones at them, while some are plucking out their own eyes so as not to see. And in this scene, likewise, is painted the Emperor Charles V, portrayed from life, with this inscription—
POST INNUMEROS LABORES OCIOSAM QUIETAMQUE VITAM TRADUXIT.
Opposite to Charles is the portrait of the last Grand Turk, who much delighted in solitude, with these words—
ANIMUM A NEGOCIO AD OCIUM REVOCAVIT.
Near him is Aristotle, who has beneath him these words—
ANIMA FIT SEDENDO ET QUIESCENDO PRUDENTIOR.
Opposite to him, beneath another figure by the hand of Taddeo, is written this—
QUEMADMODUM NEGOCII, SIC ET OCII RATIO HABENDA.
Beneath another may be read—
OCIUM CUM DIGNITATE, NEGOCIUM SINE PERICULO.
And opposite to that, under another figure, is this motto—
VIRTUTIS ET LIBERÆ VITÆ OPTIMA MAGISTRA SOLITUDO.
PLUS AGUNT QUI NIHIL AGERE VIDENTUR.
And under the last—
QUI AGIT PLURIMA, PLURIMUM PECCAT.
[Pg 259] To put it briefly, this room is very ornate with beautiful figures, and likewise very rich in stucco and gold. But to return to Vignuola; how excellent he is in matters of architecture, the works that he has written and published and still continues to write, in addition to his marvellous buildings, bear ample testimony, and in the Life of Michelagnolo we shall say all that it may be expedient for us to say in this connection.
Taddeo, in addition to the works described above, executed many others of which there is no need to make mention; but in particular a chapel in the Church of the Goldsmiths in the Strada Giulia, a façade in chiaroscuro at S. Gieronimo, and the Chapel of the High-altar in S. Sabina. And his brother Federigo is painting for the Chapel of S. Lorenzo, which is all wrought in stucco, in S. Lorenzo in Damaso, an altar-piece with that Saint on the gridiron and Paradise all open; which altar-piece is expected to prove a very beautiful work. And, in order not to omit anything that may be useful, pleasing, or helpful to anyone who may read these my labours, I shall add this as well. While Taddeo was working, as has been related, at the Vigna of Pope Julius and at the façade of Mattiuolo, the Master of the Post, he executed for Monsignor Innocenzio, the most reverend and illustrious Cardinal di Monte, two painted pictures of no great size; and one of them, which is beautiful enough, is now in the guardaroba of that Cardinal (who has given the other away), in company with a vast number of things ancient and modern, all truly of the rarest, among which, I must not omit to mention, there is a painted picture as fantastic as any work of which we have spoken hitherto. In this picture, which is about two braccia and a half in height, there is nothing to be seen by him who looks at it from the ordinary point of view, from the front, save some letters on a flesh-coloured ground, and in the centre the Moon, which goes gradually increasing or diminishing according to the lines of the writing. And yet, if you go below the picture and look in a sphere or mirror that is placed over the picture in the manner of a little baldachin, you see in that mirror, which receives the image from the picture, a most lifelike portrait in painting of King Henry II of France, somewhat larger than life, with these words [Pg 260] about it—HENRY II, ROY DE FRANCE. You can see the same portrait by lowering the picture, placing your brow on the upper part of the frame, and looking down; but it is true that whoever looks at it in that manner, sees it turned the other way from what it is in the mirror. That portrait, I say, cannot be seen save by looking at it as described above, because it is painted on twenty-eight ridges, too low to be perceived, which are between the lines of the words given below, in which, besides the ordinary meaning, there may be read, by looking at both ends of the lines and in the centre, certain letters somewhat larger than the others, which run thus—
HENRICUS VALESIUS DEI GRATIA GALLORUM REX INVICTISSIMUS.
It is true, indeed, that the Roman M. Alessandro Taddei, the secretary of that Cardinal, and Don Silvano Razzi, my dearest friend, who have given me information about this picture and about many other things, do not know by whose hand it is, but only that it was presented by the above-named King Henry to Cardinal Caraffa, when he was in France, and then by Caraffa to the most illustrious Cardinal di Monte, who treasured it as a very rare thing, which in truth it is. The words painted in the picture, which alone are to be seen by him who looks at it from the ordinary point of view, as one looks at other pictures, are these—
|HEus tu quid||viDes nil ut||reoR|
|Nisi lunam||crEscentem||et E|
|Crescit||nos Admonet||ut iN|
|Una spe fide||eT charitate||tV|
|Simul et ego||Illuminat||I|
|Lux in nobis||Amplissima||quI|
|ESt æternus||iLLe dator||luciS|
|In quo et a||quO mortales||omneS|
|Speramus in||vanUM non||sperabiMUS|
[Pg 261] In the same guardaroba is a most beautiful portrait of Signora Sofonisba Anguisciuola by her own hand, once presented by her to Pope Julius III. And there is another thing of great value, a very ancient book with the Bucolics, the Georgics, and the Æneid of Virgil, in characters so old, that it has been judged by many men of learning in Rome and in other places that it was written in the very time of Cæsar Augustus, or little after; wherefore it is no marvel that it should be held by the Cardinal in the greatest veneration.
And let this be the end of the Life of the painter Taddeo Zucchero.
 See note on p. 57, Vol. I.
 Really in the Life of Filippo Brunelleschi, p. 236, Vol. II.
 Rather, of Cremona.
 See note on p. 57, Vol. I.
 See note on p. 59, Vol. VI.
 Martin Heemskerk.
 A long gown worn by the Florentine citizens, particularly on occasions of ceremony.
 Cooking-pot or cauldron.
 Broad, flat strips of maccheroni.
 Mason's trowel.
 A sort of curd.
 The phrase, "To go for the Great," was originally applied to those Florentine families that belonged to the seven chief Guilds. It afterwards came to be used simply as a mark of superiority.
 A Florentine cake.
 See note on p. 57, Vol. I.
 A method of alluding to the Deity, which, in its playful simplicity, is quite impossible in English.
 A play on the word Gallo, which means both Gaul and cock.
 An error of the copyist or printer for eighteen.
 White, vermilion, and orange.