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hardly be able to examine critically all that there is here to be seen. We could but think that were the collection of pictures reduced by casting out no small number of nude figures, inferior “Madonnas," “Holy Families,” and “Saints,” it would be a great improvement; and the same thinning out of the statuary could not, we think, be any matter of regret.
We spent the afternoon of the 22d instant in the National Museum, which building, in the olden times, was the Hall of Justice, and is itself an object of more interest, perhaps, than what it now contains. The sides of the walls in the court are covered with coats of arms of the different podestàs, or principal officers of the city, and inscriptions of various kinds are inserted in the walls under the two stages of arcades which extend entirely round the court, in the center of which is a well like those in the court of the Doges’ Palace in Venice. In the lower story is a collection of old armor, the most formidable weapon being a large brass cannon of the sixteenth century, bearing the coat of arms of the Medici. It is highly ornamented, and at its breech is a complete bust, intended to represent St. Paul. What he could have had to do with such a monster of destruction does not appear. Near by were several pyramids of cannon balls, cut out of granite, and a weapon resembling the Gatling gun, quite remarkable. This gun has nine barrels, with a groove for the priming, the ignition of which by a flint lock served to discharge all the barrels at once. Unlike the Gatling gun, however, this was a hand weapon, the barrels and stock being about the length of those of a horse pistol. Among the works of sculpture here is Michael Angelo's
“Dying Adonis;" “Adam and Eve,” formerly of the Garden of Eden, by Bandineli; and “Virtue Triumphant," by Giambologna. This last is a stalwart and rather fierce-looking damsel, very much in the dress of her sister Eve- rather too scant, we could not help thinking, for a virtuous lady triumphing over vice- with her foot on the neck of an fortunate young man, also lightly clad, who had evidently in some way gotten into a bad scrape. There is also a celebrated statue of "Mercury," by Giambologna, and one of “David," by Verrochio. If this last had been named “Isaac" we should never have known the difference. We gaze with wonder at many a statue and many a painting, which we might pass with only a glance but that it has some great name and is said to be the work of some famous artist. We were interested in two small pieces of sculpture in bronze, representing “Abraham's Sacrifice." This subject was given to artists on trial as competitors for the doors of the Baptistery; and these two specimens were by Ghiberti and Brunellesco, the former of whom was successful, as he was evidently entitled to be. of the rooms is a large collection of fancy ivory carvings of a most ingenious character. For instance, you see a ball three or four inches in diameter with half a dozen or more balls, all separate, one within the other, neatly carved by some instrument or instruments admitted through small openings on four sides, or opposite points of the sphere. Various other devices are chosen to show the ingenuity of the artist and excite the wonder of the beholder. A most wonderful piece of wood carving is also exhibited in the same room; and then there are anatomical statuettes in wax and bronze, a series of
sculptures representing “The Combats of Hercules,” a cabinet of fine crystals, etc. It would require a volume to describe the numerous articles in this collection.
We have been gratified by a visit to the house of Michael Angelo, situated in via Ghibellina, near the Piazza Santa Croce, where there is a collection of his pictures, designs, manuscripts, and other interesting relics. It is shown for a fee of half a franc. We saw his canes and his two-edged sword, which bears the arms of his family, the portraits of many of whom hang upon the walls. Some of his tableware is highly prized as being very beautiful. There is a bust of him in bronze, from a cast taken after death. Models of some of his most celebrated works are likewise preserved here. In an out-of-the-way corner of the house is a little closet, with only one small window, where, we were told, he used to conceal himself whenever he wished to avoid intruders. When closed there was no sign of any door to this snug retreat. He never married. Being asked why he preferred to remain single, he answered, “My art is my wife, and gives me as much trouble as married life could do; and my works will be my children.”
Some of our party rode one day to La Certosa, three miles out of town, to visit there an old Carthusian Monastery, “which is approaching dissolution and contains twelve inmates only." These monks were dressed each in a long white flannel robe with a pointed hood and tied around the waist with a thick cord, suspended from which was a string of beads with a cross. They wore sandals strapped to their feet, without stockings. They have an herb garden and pharmacy, and sell medicine, perfumes
of various kinds, and delicious chartreuse, a bottle of which we secured for home consumption. The Monastery is quite a curiosity. When Pius VI. was banished from Rome by the French he had his residence here, and the room he occupied is shown to visitors. The Villa of Galileo is passed on the way to Certosa. It was here or at his prison in Florence that Milton visited Galileo near the close of his life, and wrote: “There it was that I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the Inquisition for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought."
On the 24th ultimo we went again to Powers' studio to take another view of the many beautiful statues and busts there, and to obtain photographs of some with which we were most pleased, that we might be able the more readily to recall them hereafter. One of the most charming of these, by Hiram Powers, is that of “Genevra," so named, no doubt, from the circumstance that this was the name of a Florentine lady who was the heroine of a romantic story related by Bocaccio. This story, as given in “Walks in Florence,” is as follows: “Genevra, a daughter of the noble house of Amieri, or Admari, was beloved by Antonio Rondinelli, whose family belonged to the popolani, or plebeian order, which had led an attack against the nobles in 1343. The father of Genevra accordingly refused his consent to her marriage with Rondinelli, and obliged her to accept as a husband Francesco Agolanti, who was of equal birth with herself. During the plague of 1400 she was seized by the fatal malady and fell into a swoon, which her husband mistook for death, and she was buried in the family vault in the cemetery, between the Cathedral and Campanile. In the middle of the night Genevra recovered her senses, and was terrified when she perceived, by the clear moonlight which penetrated the apertures between the stones, that she was lying in a vault. She succeeded in bursting the bandages which confined her, and contrived to raise the stone above, and to make her escape. She first directed her steps toward her husband's home, and in order to reach it she had to pass along the narrow way called from that time forth the via del Morte. Agolanti, looking out when she knocked at the door, supposed her to be a spirit come to torment him, and refused her admittance. She then proceeded to her father's house, near St. Andrea behind the Mercato Vecchio; but, again rejected, she returned to the via Calzaioli and sat down on the steps of the Church of San Bartolommeo, to reflect where to go next. Gaining courage, she sought the house of Rondinelli, near the street which to this day bears the name of his family. Here she was received by his parents, and the tribunals having decided that the marriage of a woman who had been dead and buried was annulled, she was permitted to marry her former lover." Of course, a walk through the via del Morte, or street of Death, and to other points mentioned in this romantic story, possessed additional interest on account of these associations.