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HERCULES AND AJAX.

This statue was long considered as that of the emperor Commodus, often represented as Hercules, and the child it carries the same he was in the Labit of having with him for his amusement; but the beautiful manner in which the group is executed proves that it belongs to the most flourishing age of the art, and consequently long before the reign of Commodus.

Other antiquaries, recognizing Hercules in this statue, think the child should be considered as Telephus, of whom Augea, daughter of Aleus, king of Arcadia, was secretly deli vered, but Hercules, being absent when this event occurred, could not have seen his son when so young.

In fine, Winckelmann, and Visconti after him, are satisfied that the child carried by Hercules is Ajax, the son of Telamon; and maintain their opinion thus: Hercules, present at the birth of this child, held it towards heaven as if for the purpose of consecrating it to Jupiter; and in order to render it invulnerable enveloped it in his lion-skin, believing that by so doing he should communicate to the child the property which that celebrated trophy possessed. This statue is of pentelic marble.

Height, 7 feet 5 inches.

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ÉCOLE ITALIENNE. ....... RAPHAFĹ. ... PALAIS DE L'ESCURIAL.

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Sur un trône est placée la Vierge tenant l'enfant Jésus; aux deux côtés se voient saint Jérôme et l'ange Raphaël avec le jeune Tobie, tenant son poisson; ce qui a fait donner à ce tableau le nom de la Vierge au poisson. Cette composition, ainsi que nous avons déjà eu occasion de le faire remarquer, ne doit être que le résultat de la piété et de la volonté de celui qui a commandé le tableau, et qui sans doute avait une dévotion particulière pour les saints dont on voit la représentation.

Ces sortes de compositions où l'on voit réunis des personnages qui n'ont aucun rapport entre eux, et qui ont vécu à des époques et dans des pays très-éloignés, ont été très-fréquentes dans les premiers temps de la peinture en Italie Raphaël, en se conformant à l'usage, au lieu de placer ses figures toutes droites et sans aucune liaison entre elles, ainsi qu'on le voit dans le tableau de sainte Cécile, a cherché ici à les réunir par une action qui peut au moins avoir quelque vraisemblance.

Ce précieux tableau, du meilleur temps de Raphael, est un des plus remarquables tant pour le dessin que pour la couleur et pour l'expression des têtes; celle de la Vierge surtout est d'une noblesse et d'une beauté au-dessus de tout éloge.

On croit que ce tableau a été exécuté vers 1513, pour décorer la chapelle Saint-Dominique à Naples; depuis il fut acheté par Philippe IV, roi d'Espagne : les événements politiques l'avaient amené à Paris, et il est retourné au palais de l'Escurial. Il a été gravé par Bartholozzi, par Sélina en 1782, par M. Lignon et par M. Desnoyers. L'ancienne gravure de l'école de Marc-Antoine est faite d'après un dessin, et non pas d'après le tableau.

Haut., 6 pieds 7 pouces; larg. 5 pieds.

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THE VIRGIN AND INFANT JESUS,

KNOWN AS LA VIERGE AU POISSON.

The Virgin with the infant Jesus in her arms is seated on a throne near her stand saint Jerome, and the angel Raphael with young Tobias presenting a fish, from which this picture has derived the name of la Vierge au poisson. This composition, as we have already had occasion to remark, must have originated solely in the piety and the pleasure of the person who ordered the picture, and who, no doubt, held in peculiar veneration the saints represented in this production.

This kind of composition in which persons figure that have no relation to each other, and who lived at different times and in different countries, was frequently adopted in the early times of painting in Italy. Raphael, in conforming to this practice, instead of placing his figures erect and without connexion, as in the picture of saint Cecilia, has endeavoured in this composition to connect them by an action that has an air of probability.

This valuable picture, of the best time of Raphael, is one of those most remarkable, as well for the design as for the colouring and the expression of the heads; that of the Virgin displays inexpressible nobleness and beauty.

This picture is said to have been painted towards 1513, to decorate the chapel of Santo-Dominico at Naples; it was afterwards bought by Philip IV, king of Spain. During the late political convulsions it was brought to Paris; but has now returned to the palace of the Escurial. It has been engraved by Bartholozzi, by Selina in 1782, by M. Lignon and by M. Desnoyers. The ancient engraving in the school of Mark-Anthony was taken from a design and not from the original picture.

Height, 7 feet 2 inches; breadth, 5 feet 6 inches.

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