« AnteriorContinuar »
professors from being blindfolded by ed in honour of what the Tories calthe mists of political contention, and led the abandonment of proceedings that our ecclesiastical courts would against, and the Whigs, the acquittal echo to the still small voice of truth of, her Majesty,—the detailed accounts alone ; yet even here party rage pre- given by those trumpeters to their dominates with the same violence as in respective factions,--the Times and the courts of Parliament, in the meet- the Courier,-exhibited another strikings of a county, or in the councils of ing and ludicrous display of party ila borough.
lusion, Many of your readers, Mr Such is the mode in which this rage Editor, have, no doubt, in an idle of party spirit now operates. Let us hour, gazed upon a revolving light, next only glance at the fairness and placed « far amid the melancholy candour with which upon either side main," or have had their eyes dazzled it is brought into play.
with the blaze, from the turrets of Were it at all practicable to decide Inchkeith, till, gazing a few seconds, with certainty between the right and “ in an instant, all was dark :" So, the wrong, and to apply the standard after reading the accounts in the of immutable truth to fix the merits Times and in the Courier, one would or demerits of either party, it might be apt to imagine such a thing as a then be discovered to what extent one revolving illumination, and that the man is right, and all other men wrong. Times had taken its peep while the But, unfortunately, facts cannot be bright side, and the Courier, while brought to bear upon the test, for the dark side, presented itself. such is the prevailing blindness, that Each of these papers might have neither party can look at facts through had its appropriate motto from Shakenatural optics. If, upon one side, speare. facts are viewed through a telescope,
Lights, lights, more lights, the partisans of the other side are sure to look at them through the instru- would have suited the Times, and the ment inverted. In proof of this, let following, but the heads of a parish assemble to
There's husbandry in Toryism, express their opinion upon any politi
Whig candles are all out, cal event; on such an occasion, a Whig sees only a room-full of men assem would have served equally well for the bled in a laudable attempt to reform Courier. Where the one saw here and some partial abuse, while a Tory dis- there only some faint glimmering of a covers a whole county up in arms to farthing taper, the other saw whole overturn the Constitution.
masses of luminaries all trimmed in The evidence as to the guilt or in- joyous brilliancy. nocence of the Queen was developed But what are Whigs, and what are alike to Whig and Tory in disgusting Tories? which are right, and which profusion; but how differently were wrong? and bow far? are questions, their minds impressed in consequence? wbich, while party predominates, will The one party, looking through the never be answered to universal satisTory end of the telescope, saw the faction. Let us, therefore, call in most damning proofs of guilt, and in the officious, prowling Cerberus, altheir minds, she rests guilty accord- ready described, and examine its three ingly; while the Whig, purely be- heads, according to the doctrines of cause the Tory believes otherwise, Spurzheim, whose rules, however, adcan with equal confidence appeal to mit of some exceptions. And, Heaven and his own conscience, in the 1st, I find the Tory head that of a firm belief that she is as spotless as the little pug-dog, accustomed to repose polar snow. In such a state of mat in the lap of favour, and to fawn and ters, this perplexing question might cringe to all who are in power. It is with equal justice have been decided so plausible, nay so polite, that it will without any evidence at all. The op- bark at no one who is as well fed and tical deception, indeed, operated to pampered as itself; no, not even at such an extent, that learned bishops the domestic spoiler, or the intrusive were unable to get at the true mean robber, if he speak unto it fair words, ing of a biblical text, hitherto consider- and give it a little of his gains. It ed as clear as the sun at noon-day. will bark only at a Whig. As to the illuminations which follow 2d, The W'hig head appears to be
that of a full grown mastiff ; its bark- Rome to fetch him. This man was a ings are most vociferous; it is ever lover of the arts, and was resolved that on the watch, and, withal, very noisy. his country should not, merely on a This may be accounted for, from its matter of etiquette, be deprived of a being fed on humbler fare than loaves share in the works of one of her own and fishes, and not admitted into the children. It was at the suggestion highest company.
But with all its of this individual, that Poussin paintboasted pretensions in favour of liber- ed a new series of the Seven Sacraty, it is said to be a tyrant in its own ments; he was not willing that anopetty domains, -an oppressor of its ther should copy, and perhaps murder inferiors, and somewhat backward bis first series, and he could not endure in paying its debts,—though this is the idea of sitting down to make a perhaps more owing to its poverty slavish copy of his own compositions. ihan its principles.
This second series, which was once 3d, The Democrat, or Radical head, in the Orleans gallery, is now in the is a lusus naturæ, apparently sprung possession of the Marquis of Stafford. from the Whig stem, but equally ha- There has been much controversy, ted by both the other heads. It has however, among all the different tribes but a small modicum of brains,-is of connoisseurs, whether the Seven very stupid, -knows no distinctions, Sacraments at Rome are finer than -and is so very blind, that it will those now in possession of the Marsometimes bark alike at the hand that quis of Stafford. “Who shall decide, feeds, and the hand that threatens it. when doctors disagree?" Those at In its nature it is as changeable as the Rome have been censured for hardmob.
ness of execution and defective coBut upon these subjects, Mr Edi- louring, but in felicity of conception, tor, I have now said enough ; and un and, above all, in beauty of exprestil party spirit shall find its legitimate sion, they are believed not merely to grave " in the tomb of all the Capu- atone for these defects, but even to lets,"
surpass those formerly in the Palais The topic is unfit for you and me,
Royal. Who shall decide, when doctors disagree ?
In the interval that elapsed between
the invitation sent to Poussin and his No POLITICIAN.
journey to Paris, he was not idle, but painted, for his friend M. de Chantelou, the “ Israelites gathering Man
na in the Wilderness," of which he (Concluded from Vol. VIII. p. 505.) himself thus speaks in a letter to Stel
la, a French artist of some consideraIN 1638, Cardinal Richelieu sug tion : " I have invented for M. de gested to Louis XIII. the plan of Chantelou's picture a certain distribufinishing the Louvre, and of accom tion of parts, and certain natural acplishing the magnificent designs of cidents, which display the misery and Francis 1. As the reputation of Pous- famine to which the Israelites were sin was now high, he was immediate- recluced, and also their subsequent ly fixed on to execute the principal joy and delight; the admiration with pictures, and to superintend the rest, which they are seized; their respect and he was almost instantly appointed and veneration for their legislator; first painter to the king, with a hand- with a mixture of men, women, and some allowance, intimation of which children, of various ages and comappointment was conveyed to him, in plexions, which I imagine will not the most flattering terms, by a letter displease those who are able to read from the hand of Louis himself. Yet, them.” It is, we believe, one of the strange as it may appear, we do not greatest faults of design, when it canfind him in Paris, till the expiry of not be easily “ read," and when a two years after the date of this letter. sixpenny pamphlet must be purchasThis fact would seem to evince his ed in order to gather information of great affection for his adopted country. the furniture of the canvas. Poussin Nor, indeed, did he consent to go to was a learned painter, and many of France, until his intimate friend, M. his designs are classical and learned, de Chantelou, who had a place in the but still to those who possess the neking's household, had been sent to
cessary information, who are able .
LIFE OF NICHOLAS POUSSIN.
to read,” nothing is easier than to col. These cartoons are unhappily lost : lect the scope and intention of the they were of the same size as those of artist, whose distinguishing merit it Raffaelle, and, in them, many of Pousundoubtedly is to have made his fi- sin's earlier compositions were repeatgures and groupes tell his story more ed. He had no sooner finished them, perspicuously, fully, and effectually, however, than, in prosecution of the than perhaps any other painter. At plan which ultimately drove him from length, having finished this picture, his native country, he was set to dehe set out for Paris, leaving his fami- sign frontispieces for books printed at ly affairs under the especial care of the Royal Printing-office. The first the Commander Del Pozzo. The re of these which he executed was for ception which he met with at the the Bible commonly called by the French court was most flattering, and, name of Sixtus V., and sometime afby a letter of his own, written subse terwards he furnished many designs quently to that event, appears to have for Horace and Virgil, which were made a deep impression on his sensi- printed at the Royal Press. How he tive and grateful mind. He was im- felt under this most extraordinary but mediately presented to Cardinal Riche- perfectly French usage, we learn from lieu, and soon after taken to the coun an extract of a letter of his to Del try-seat of M. de Noyers, in order to Pozzo, dated September 20, 1641. be presented to the king, by whom “I am labouring without intermishe was most graciously and even af- sion, sometimes at one thing, somefectionately receiveủ, and who, to times at another. I should do this mark his particular regard for the willingly, but that they hurry me in painter, superadded to the office al- things that require time and thought. ready conferred on him, that of su I assure you, that if I stay long in perintendent of all the works of de this country I must turn dauber like coration for the palaces, and confirm the rest here." About this time, too, ed these favours by brevet, dated in he finished a great picture containing March 1641. At this period, the fourteen figures larger than nature, ambition of the court was to realize the subject of which is one of the mithe splendid designs of Francis I. racles of St Francis Xavier in Japan, who, it is well known, endeavoured, where he restores to life the daughter by his liberal patronage, to attract to of a nobleman. “ It was finished at the French capital the greatest artists the time prescribed," and from the of Italy. It is said, that this warın merited applause which it elicited, hearted and gallant prince carried his brought out into full cry against the affection for the arts so far, that Leo- hard-earned fame of the gentle Pousnardo da Vinci died in his arms. At sin, the whole pack of envy and depresent all seemed to be disposed to traction, who never once relaxed the tread in his footsteps, and nothing pursuit till they finally succeeded in was talked of but copying the Arch of the object which to them was of the Constantine, and the Pillar of Tra- last importance, namely, forcing him jan; while it was actually resolved to to forswear for ever his most ungratecast in bronze, and place at the gate ful country. The leader of his perof the Louvre, the colossal statues of secutors was one Vonet, whose name Monte Cavallo. We shall afterwards would never have reached posterity see how these designs were disposed had it not been thus inauspiciously of.
associated with that of Poussin. ZoiPoussin was not allowed to be idle. lus owes his immortality to Homer, Some cartoons, to be copied in tapes and Maevius to the Mantuan Bard. try for the chamber of Louis, were This Vouet had some notoriety before the first task assigned him. We say the arrival of Poussin,-an event task, for, from the moment of his ar which of all others he dreaded the rival, till that of his departure, never most, and, accordingly, having clusmore to return, he was tasked, with tered around him all those who were out measure and without mercy, to as Gothic, and as stupid, and as mathe performance of works that he ab- levolent as hirself, he proceeded to horred, and forced to labour, not as the assault with all the distempered his own feelings and judgment, but industry of baulked selfishness and as the whim and wanton caprice of mortified vanity. « Christ in his affected tasteless courtiers directed. Glory," which Poussin finished about
EARTH IT WAS SCARCELY POSSIBLE
this period, was attacked with the ginal and comprehensive, he had used most licentious' severity, and the fi- but slender ceremony with the vanigure of Christ compared to a Jupiter ty of the architect Le Mercier, who, Tonans, while the colouring was ridi- feeling that Poussin had, as he imaculed as opaque, and the outline as gined, invaded his province, went hard, dry, and without feeling. The over and joined the party of the pitieriticisms of his enemies were met by ful Vouet. He was particularly torPoussin with the calm dignity of mented, too, with a dandy of a landsterling merit and conscious truth. scape painter, called Fouquières, who, “Those,” said he," who assert that though sprung from the dregs of the the Christ in my picture is more like a people, had the impudence to pretend Thundering Jupiter than a God of that he was a man of family. Poussin mercy, may be assured that I shall laughed at his folly and hatred, but never fail in careful endeavours to found that there is no animal in the give my figures expressions conforma- creation so absolutely worthless as not ble to what they are intended to re- to become a formidable, if an invepresent; but I neither can, nor ought terate, enemy. Seeing that the hato imagine Christ in any situation tree of his enemies was approaching whatever with the face of a whining to a crisis, he gave in a strong remonMethodist, or a mendicant friar, SEE strance to M. de Noyers, complainING THAT WHILE HE WAS UPON ing of and criticising the operations
of Le Mercier on the gallery of the
Louvre, and exposing, in very calm HIS COUNTENANCE !” Notwithstand- but manly and decided terms, his ing the clamorous criticism of Vouet utter ignorance and want of taste. and his corps, the king, queen, and We believe there is not at this day a Richelieu openly espoused the side of human being of the smallest pretenPoussin, and thereby indicated, in sions to common sense, not to say this instance at least, at once their taste taste, who shall read the observaand impartiality, qualities to which tions contained in this letter, havthe atmosphere of courts is generally ing previously seen the place to supposed to be peculiarly noxious. which it alludes, and not be instantYet, in spite of this high encourage- ly, and almost intuitively, sensible ment, he complains bitterly of the of their truth. His remonstrance usage he met with in being bound concludes with these memorable words: down to trifling and insignificant “I feel my own powers, and know tasks, in the performance of which what I am capable of, without priding he was hurried on by the eager im- myself too much on them, or yet patience of those who thought that a seeking favour. I write to bear witpainter could throw off great works ness to truth, and will never descend by a dash of his pencil, or that a ga). to flattery, which are too opposite lery could rise up, like the gourd of ever to be reconciled.” Little attenthe prophet, in a single night; andl tion was, however, paid to this rehe actaally states, that they employ- monstrance, and a counter-memorial ed him " on frontispieces to books, was given in, “ wherein it was, artdesigns for ornamental cabinets, chim- fully insinuated, that the honour of ney-pieces, bindings of books, and the nation was compromised by the other nonsense.” This was humiliat- parsimony of his plans for the public ing enough, no doubt, and he set buildings:" To which insinuation himself to complain in good earnest ; Poussin made the following pointed but the only satisfaction he received reply: “ The calumnies of my, enewas large promises and fair words. mies are sharpened by their hopes Belle parole e cattivi fatti, &c.
But this state of continued warfare Some where about the beginning of could not last, and, in the end, be1642, we find that he had fixed his came intolerable to so great a lover of plan for the decorations of the Tuil- peace as the subject of this memoir. leries, the production of which was Accordingly he applied to M. de the signal for his enemies to com- Noyers for permission to return to mence fresh operations against his Rome, and received from that minihappiness and fame. It must be ster a conditional leave, on an implied owned, that in this plan, at once ori- promise that he would return early
in the following September. The lect friends in whose society he delast picture which he painted in the lighted to relax. By one of these he French capital had a very appropriate was one day asked what was the chief subject, viz.“ Time bringing Truth benefit which he had derived from his to light, and delivering her from the extensive reading ?" How to live well fiends Malice and Envy.” He left with all the world," was the admirable behind him another, however, which reply. His brother-in-law, Gaspar bears a more pointed allusion to his Poussin, Claude Lorraine, and Charles private vexations and persecutions. Le Brun, were frequently bis compaThe subject is the Labours of Hercules, nions in his walks, and imbibed, from to which he has added an imaginary his conversation, the noblest and puone, in which the hero destroys Folly, rest maxims both in morals and in Ignorance, and Envy: these hateful art, and in the true method of studypersonages are caricatures of Fou- ing nature, and of transfusing into quières, Le Mercier, and Vouet ; the groupes of the canvas her native while the Hercules bears resemblance and unsophisticated forms. There to Poussin himself. Fouquières is can be no manner of doubt that the Folly seated on an Ass, from whose two great landscape painters here neck' hangs a medal with the initials named derived incalculable advanJ. F.: Ignorance, as Le Mercier, is tages from the interchange of friendbusy tearing up the works of Vitru- ship with this great man.. Mrs vius; she holds a square and com Graham has finely discriminated the passes in her hands: Envy is of course styles of Gaspar Poussin, and of his Vouet.” In this picture, and in se friend and contemporary Claude Lorveral others, particularly the Death raine, and contrasted the opposite usof Philemon, who expired of laughter pects under which they loved to view at seeing an ass eat figs, he displays a the same scene, with the justest and quiet and genuine humour, which, in nicest tact, and the correctest feeling minds of acute perceptions and strong of the great characteristic beauties of sensibility, is often combined with each. And we cannot but regret that great talents for pathos.
we find it impossible to lay it before At length, however, Poussin return our readers in her own words, both as ed to Rome, where he had not been a specimen of her style, and an exlong, before he was invited again to ample of that unaffected and truly return to France, in consequence of becoming simplicity and chasteness of the changes which had there taken manner in which she has learned to place by the death of Cardinal Riche- dress her sentiments. The truth is, lieu and Louis XIII. and the recal of that Poussin would never receive any his patron, M. de Noyers, who had pupil, but he interested himself deepbeen some time in disgrace. Poussin's ly in the success of other artists, and answer to this proposal was prompt was no niggard of his praise whenand manly. “ I will never go to ever he thought it deserved. “Your Paris," said he, “ to be employed as a Lordship wants only a little poverty private man, though my works should to become a good painter,” said he on be covered with gold for it.” This, of one occasion to nobleman who had course, put a final period to the nego- shewn him a piece of his own, and ciation, but he continued to enjoy asked his opinion of the design and from Louis XIV, the pension which execution. In the success of his had been conferred on him by his young countryman, Charles Le Brun, predecessor. Upon his return to the he took a very particular and warm favourite seat of art, and his own be- interest, and omitted nothing in the loved residence, Poussin resumed his way of precept or example that could labours with his wonted vigour and extend his views or incite him to exenthusiasm. “ I grow older,” says ertion. It is well known how agreeably he in a letter to a friend," but I feel he was surprised to find that a picture more than ever inflamed with the de- painted secretly by Le brun, and pubsire of surpassing myself, and of reach- licly exhibited in Rome without a name, ing to the highest pitch of perfection. was thought to be one of his own.During this period of his life, he Le Brun waited on the venerable arlived retired from company, and spent tist, carried him to see the picture, much of his time in his working- and, on their return, confessed that rooin, being visited only by a few sem he had done his best to imitate the