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After the time of Lionardi da Vinci, painting feems to have foon attained the highest perfection to which it was capable of arriving. For as ancient Rome was peculiarly happy in having three kings who poffeffed the qualities beft adapted for laying the foundations of a great empire, fo modern Rome enjoyed three artists, whofe early discoveries have fecured to her that honourable empire of tafte and elegance, which she still maintains unrivalled. From Lionardo da Vinci fhe acquired expreffion and colouring; from Michel Angelo invention, drawing, greatness, and the fublime; and from Raphael, all these united in the highest perfection, with the noble additions of compofition and grace. Raphael was born in 1483, and died in 1520; and notwithstanding what is faid of the tints of Titian, the happy pencil of Annibal Carracci, the graceful airs of Correggio, and the angelic beauty of Guido, it may be affirmed, that nothing effential was added to the art of painting after the age of Raphael.
In that age the art of engraving was alfo much improved by the admirable fkill of Mark Antonio, who appears to have been fo highly delighted with the finished productions of his contemporaries, that he conceived the noble idea of configning them to immortality. About the fame time a new art was difcovered, which imitated, with great exactness, such of their works as were only drawn with the pen.
This invention, called Chiari-fcuri by the Italians, and Camayeux by the French, is commonly afcribed to Ugo da Carpi, a man of great ingenuity. He made his first trial with two pieces of pear-tree or box, the moft proper woods for his purpofe. With one of these pieces he ftamped the outlines of his figures, and the darkeft fhadows; with the fecond he gave the wash; and those parts of the paper were left white, which required to have the appearance of being heightened. Having fucceeded in this contrivance beyond his expectation, he began to make prints with three blocks of wood. The first gave the profiles and dark fhadows; the fecond the middle tints; the third the light grounds; and the heightenings were expreffed as before by the natural colour of the paper. In this manner he executed a large print of Eneas carrying Anchifes on his fhoulders from the flames of Troy, bearing date 1518.
The inventions of Ugo da Carpi were highly efteemed by his countrymen. He was defirous of availing himself of the profit arifing from his labours, and, in order to prevent others from fharing it, obtained decrees of excommunication from the Pope, and menaces of fevere penalties from the Doge of Venice, against every one who should print his Æneas, without his own confent. Albert Durer had already obtained from the Emperor Maximilian denunciations of confifcation, accompanied with other
other threats, against every perfon who fhould copy or vend his works in the Emperor's dominions.
Mazuoli of Parma, called Parmigiano, who, if not the inventor of etching in aqua fortis, at least made great improvements in that art, began to imitate the prints of Ugo da Carpi in 1529. While Parmigiano refided at Bologna, he printed on a large fheet, a chiaro fcuro of Diogenes, which is the best work of the kind that had been hitherto executed. He greatly improved the art by difcovering a method of enabling the prints to bear a nearer infpection, and of rendering them more pleafing to the fpectator. This was done by printing two tints with wood on the outlines, while the more delicate shades were etched on copper. Of this he gave an admirable example in a copy of a drawing of Raphael, which reprefents Peter and John healing the lame man at the beautiful gate of the temple. This work is the more interefting, being Raphael's first thought for the Cartoon on that subject.
The art, which Parmigiano learned from Ugo da Carpi, he communicated to Antonio da Trento, who, among a variety of other works, executed a famous print of the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul, Antonio difcovered great ingenuity in working with two, and even with three blocks; but his treachery and ingratitude blafted all the hopes that might reafonably have been formed from the continuance of his labours. While his mafter refided at Bologna, and was affiduously employed in painting for the noblemen of that city, Antonio one morning feized the opportunity to rifle his cheft, ftole all his drawings, as well as his prints in copper and wood, and having efcaped through the gates of the city, was never heard of more.
These artifts were fucceeded by Meccarino of Sienna, and Antonio Cremonefe; but the perfon who has most enriched our collections with prints in imitation of drawings, is Andreani of Mantoua. He wrought with two, three, and even four blocks; and has left a greater number of prints, copied after a greater variety of mafters, than any of his predeceffors. Soon after the death of Andreani, Bartolomeo Coriolano practised the fame art with great tafte and accuracy at Bologna. He chiefly employed himfelf on the works of Guido, his favourite painter; and fucceeded fo well in his imitation, that on prefenting to Pope Urban VIII a Madonna of this artist, he was dignified with the order of knighthood of Loretto, and obtained a confiderable falary.
The Germans are fond of contefting with the Italians the merit of many ingenious inventions. As to the art of which Mr. R. traces the hiftory, Sandrart of Stockau accufes Vafari of appropriating a difcovery, which of right belongs to the Germans, who he fays, as early as the year 1503, published chiaro,
fcuro prints in black, yellow, and green. Although the Germans fhould be allowed the honour of the invention, the merit of the improvement will ftill belong to the Italians; for even Albert Durer, the greatest genius of Germany, did not exhibit any thing in this way, executed with three blocks, till the year 1600; at which time Goltzius the engraver also published feveral prints with three blocks, particularly one of Hercules killing the robber Cacus in his den. Paul Moreelfe, a painter of Delft, engraved on three blocks in 1612, and even the great Rubens directed a chiaro-scuro block to be cut for a print graved on copper by Witdouc in 1638, reprefenting Jefus fitting at table with two of his difciples. L. Bufinck graved prints after P. Lalliman, on two and three blocks, about the year 1645; and many others of lefs note, who, from an excess of modefty, fuppreffed their names.
From this time till the reign of George I. of England, the art, instead of receiving any further improvements, began gradually to decline; except that in 1681 James Lutma published in Holland four portraits imitating black lead drawings ftumped, which, as he describes the operation, were made opere mallei, by means of a hammer. But after this last effort, made by James Lutma, to preferve a decaying art, it was allowed to linger and perish. So entirely was it neglected and forgotten, that some of its revivers, at the period above mentioned, speak of it as a new invention; and Zanetti, a gentleman of Venice, who, between the years 1720 and 1741, publifhed many prints in imitation of drawings, obferves in a letter, that they were engraved on wood in the method of Trento, fince loft. The fame observation is repeated at the bottom of one of his prints, dedicated to William Duke of Devonshire. Zanetti took particular delight in copying the works of Parmigiano; and his enthufiafm for this mafter, together with the esteem in which his imitations were held in England, encouraged him to continue the practice of an art which he confidered as equally tedious and troublesome*.
About the fame time Le Blon published in England a treatise on the Harmony of Colouring in Painting." This work, which was dedicated to Robert Walpole, Efq; Chancellor of the Exchequer, laid open an extenfive plan, which was no lefs than to publish portraits of the fize of life, as well as hiftorypieces, after great mafters; all in the fame colours with the originals. This he fuccessfully effected, by means of three mezzotinto plates, on which he fkilfully blended yellow, red, and blue, which he terms the three primitive colours. His contrivance was followed by feveral of his pupils, particularly
* Lettere fulla Pittura,
by Robert and Gautier of Paris. The former chiefly applied
A magnificent collection of prints, copied after the best pictures and drawings in France, was published at Paris in 1729. In this valuable work, well known by the name of its patron Mr. Crozat, the chiaro-fcuro was performed, as usual, with blocks; but, besides this, a method of imitating pendrawings with copper-plates was revived, which had not been practised fince the time of Parmigiano; a method of the greater value, as the operations of a fine pen may be copied by etchings
, with far more precision and resemblance, than by any incisure in wood.
Mr. Stephen Slaughter published in London in 1733, a print after an original drawing of Parmesan. In this print the wash is given with a wooden block, and the figures are etched in copper; and to the approbation which it universally met wich, is owing the beautiful collection of Pond and Knapion, the largest and most elegant work of the kind ever published in England ; in which the beauty of Slaughter's print is equalled, and the province of the art itself extended, by introducing a great va. siety of new shades, and by imitating drawings in red chalk, which had never been before attempted.
Mr. Rogers concludes his Appendix by an account of the works of the ingenious artists during the present reign (many of them now alive), who have cultivated or improved the methods of imitating drawings. As this part is written more concisely than the rest, we intended to take the liberty of tran. fcribing it for the entertainment of our readers; but the article is already extended beyond our usual limits.
In treating the lives of the painters, Mr. Rogers is more copious than any writer in the English language. He mentions several interesting particulars that are omitted by Vasari, Philibien, and others; and his life of Correggio in particular is more perfect than any we have met with. He gives an agreeable variety to his subject, by introducing such episodes as are na. turally connecled with the ornamental arts ; of which there is an example in the life of Stephano della Bella, where the reader will find an explanation of the origin of masquerades, triumphs, carnival songs, and other entertainments, which formed the
disa principal amusement of all the different courts of Europe, du
sing the fixteenth century.
We shall conclude this article by inserting a passage from the life of Guido Reni, which may serve not only as a specimen of the style of our Author, but as an illustration of an important doctrine which cannot be too often inculcated; that is, the corruption to which the arts are liable, even in the happiest ages; and the danger that artists of superior merit should condescend to imitate bad models, when ignorance, novelty, or caprice have rendered such models fashionable.
• About this time * Guido began to paint on his own account t; and in his coronation of the Virgin Mary, in the church of St. Bernard, he demonstrated so great a knowledge of
the naked, that Annibale Carracci himself, who at first tenderly med , at
loved, now began to sear him, regarding him always with a jealous militudine
and severe eye: nevertheless he, contrary to his intentions, opened had no
the way to his rival's future reputation, in this manner. After
the time of the great Michel Angelo, Raffaelle, and some of by die
their followers in the Roman schole, 'the art was considerably fallen, the artists running rather into a chimerical whimsicalness, and weak colouring, than imitating the truth of nature. Cavalier Giufippe d’Arpino was accounted an able man among them, and, by Fortune's allistance, acquired the first place; although, to a very capricious invention, he had joined the style of a mannerist, with languid colouring. At this time also appeared Michel Angelo da Caravaggio, a tantastical and beastly man, who having formed a manner entirely new (with broad
lights artificially obtained in a darkened chamber, and with the serta
deepest shadows), he so effectually infinuated himself into the favour of the great, that every gallery, in every museum, was accounted poor which had not one of his pictures in it. The
fame of these two men spread over all Italy; and not only their -пс
reputation, but their pictures arrived at Bologna ; not without great joy to the Carracci, who longed to see some of their works, particularly of Caravaggio, of whom they had heard such great things. The picture was seen by Annibale, and by Lodovico, who readily declared, that he found the work very different from the fame of the master; but that nothing was more plausible than novelty: to which Annibale added, that he was not at all surprised, but was of opinion, that any one who, in time to come, thould strike out some new manner, would certainly obtain from Fortune and the filly vulgar, the like ad
The period in which Guido lived was from 1975 to 1642. + Or, as we commonly say, to set up for himself; he had, in his youih, served under the Carracci, and other eminent matters. His firit instructor was Denys Calvart.