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aux amateurs et utile aux jeunes artistes, puisqu'elle leur offrira à peu de frais les compositions les plus gracieuses du prince des artistes.
Les dessins d'après lesquels Marc-Antoine a fait graver l'histoire de Psyché en 32 planches, sont maintenant dispersés, et il serait même difficile de dire ce qu'il sout devenus. Nous publions cette suite en entier, et nous avons cru devoir joindre aussi quatre compositions prises d'après les peintures à fresque de la Farnesine.
Nous devons encore ajouter que,dans les peintures, les sujets sont placés sur un fond bleu, entourés de guirlandes de feuillages et de fruits, qui bordent les pendentifs de la voùte et ont par conséquent une forme triangulaire. Quant au plafond, le peintre, voulant éviter de faire plafonner ses figures, il a supposé que ces peintures étaient des tapisseries, ainsi que les bordures semblent l'indiquer, et les clous font croire que le tout est une étoffe tendue horizontalement et attachée au plafond.
From the time of the regeneration of the arts, painters have uniformly selected their subjects from the old or new Testament, or in the chronicles of the Saints. Raphael at first followed the same plan, in painting pious subjects, in addition to which, a particular feeling which he entertained of devotion to the Virgin, induced him as they say, so often to represent the subject of the Holy Family, which his talent knew how to vary continually, and always in the most delightful manner.
Raphael was but 25 years of age when he was called to Rome, by Pope Julius the second, and ordered to paint the chamber of signature.
His first work was the dispute of the Holy Sacrament, in which is found in a great degree the same simplicity as in the works of the artists his predecessors, a cold composition, heads full of ingenuousness, the greater part of which are portraits without expression.
The costumes however, do not resemble altogether those worn by ecclesiastics and magistrates of that time; the painter has given them an air of too much grandeur, and has made them resemble too much in their drapery the antique figures which were discovered daily, and which were unceasingly studied.
It appears that the ideas, and talent of the painter were ennobled, when he made the beautiful fresco, so well known under the name of the School of Athens. » His genius in this vast composition, knew how to present with justness and truth those illustrious philosophers, in attitudes as noble as expressive, persons whom Greece honoured so greatly.
The strict intimacy which Raphael had afterwards the opportunity of forming with illustrious learned characters,
such as Bibienna and Bembo, as also, with the amiable and witty Count Balthasar Castiglione enabled him to feel the advantage that might be derived from painting subjects from the tales of the ancient poets. He therefore began to trace with his pencil some of those scenes the conversations of his learned friends had suggested and which he duly appreciated. One of these, Augustin Chigi, considered as the richest merchant of that period, employed part of his immense fortune in cultivating the arts
There was not at this time says, M. Quatremère-de-Quincy in his history of Raphael, any chief of a noble family, who was rich, but had the ambition to bequeath to future ages a durable monument of his fleeting existence. This was a dwelling, in the architecture of which, sums were expended that elsewhere and since, are devoted by the rich, to trifling superfluities. To engrave one's name on the door of one's house, with the date of it's construction, was an equivalent for those forms which assure the possession of wealth in a family. It is owing to this custom that we are now able to visit in many of the towns of Italy, dwellings more or less costly, distinguished many ages ago, by the residence of persons who were celebrated in different ways.
Augustin Chigi had then the desire of thus perpetuating his remembrance, in a palace worthy of him, and of his name, as also the renown that posterity gives him of being a man of taste.
Having purchased a desirable spot in the quarter of TransTevere, he made choice of the celebrated Balthasar Peruzzi of Sienna, to erect for him on this ground a building more remarkable for the elegance of it's architecture, than for its size. To speak of Balthasar Peruzzi it is to recal the idea of that charming style of building, after the antique, a taste for which, as we have already stated, Raphael had imbibed. But Balthasar ought to be considered as the Raphael of
architecture, no one better than he, knew how to avail himself of the style and traditions relating to the architecture of the ancients, or better to suit it to the period in which he flourished, as to the introduction of it in private dwellings. The style of these edifices carries one back, twenty ages in antiquity, and we imagine that if an inhabitant of ancient Rome should revisit the modern one, he would only find himself at home, in entering one of the houses built by this architect, and especially in the palace of Augustin Chigi. But he would perhaps be surprised at sight of the delightful entrance hall, which would receive him! It is doubtful if formerly painting lavished such beauty on the simple atrium. of a palace.
It is in a vestibule of this species of construction, which now bears the name of Farnesine, that Raphael painted in fresco probably in 1514, the history of Cupid and Psyche. Probably, whilst the architect was engaged in the building, the painter was preparing his compositions, and perhaps also, in order to be acquainted with all the details of the latin poet's invention, he had recourse to some celebrated literary character of his time, in all probability to Balthazar Castiglione, at least, this is what we may infer, from a letter written by Raphael to this Count, in which he says « I have done the outline of the subjects you pointed out, in more than one way, and if I am not flattered, they will meet with general approbation. For my part, I carefully abstain from relying on my own judgment, I am also afraid of not obtaining your approbation. I send them to you, select some of them, if any deserve your choice. » It is thus at least that we must explain, how it happens that Raphael has composed the same subject differently, in order to choose the scenes and compositions the most suitable, to ornament the Farnesine Palace; with this view he prepared the interesting outlines engraved with such great care, under the eyes of
Marc-Antoine, by his pupils Augustin Venitien, B. Dado and others. These compositions offered such charms that the original engravings are now become so scarce, we have thought it a-propos to offer a copy of them on a small scale. This publication will be agreable to amateurs, and useful to young artists, it will offer to them at a small expense the most delightful compositions of the prince of artists.
The designs after which Marc Antoine engraved the history of Psyche, in 32 plates, are now dispersed, and it would be difficult even to say what is become of them. We publish them entire, and think we should also join to them four compositions after the fresco paintaings of the Farnesine.
We should also add, that in the paintings, the subjects are placed on a blue ground, surrounted by garlands of leaves and fruits which border the extremities of the arched vault, and thus take a triangular form.
With respect to the ceiling, the painter wishing to avoid the appearance of having painted on it, has made it appear, that the painting is tapestry, (as the border seems to indicate), the nails making it look like a stuff stretched horizontally, and fastened to the ceiling.