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Foreign Correspondence

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Eome, Doe. 18, 1872. Fbiknd Pond: Ketuming froffl a hasty inspection of theae long corridors to the entranco into the world-renowned Tribune, we pause with a feeling akin to awe before entering this small, octagonal room, within whose limitod cirouit are cuibraced a few af those priceless genis of art which the wealth of kings would be inadequate to buy. Probably most persons, like ourselvee, are most interested in getting a view of the Medioian Venus, as the object best known by the wondorful praise it has reeeived. And there indeed she 3tood, directly before us as we entered, a timid look of modesty expressed in attitude and feature, and beautiful in form and expression. It would be difficult to say it was anything less than a perfect and complete woman as she should be in lier best physical development, and yet, when, later, in the Pitti gallery, we saw the wonderfully beautiful Venus of Canova,it was difficult to award the palm of superiority to the ancient, except upon the consideration that possibly the modern artist had derived an advantage from having had the ancient as a model. The Venus de Medici was found in Hadrian's villa at Tivoli, and wa8 brought to Florence in 1680 by Cosmo ni., one of the Medici - henee the name. The right arm and half of the left are tho work of a modern artist, but very well executed - o much so as to be scarcely noticeable. Tho group called " The Wrestlers " is also Greek work, and a masterly producion. The "Dancing Faun" is generally ocarded as one of the most excellent of ntiquo sculptures, and attributed to 'raxiteles. The head and arms havo jeen restored by Michael Angelo with wonderful success. The " Little Apollo," s it is called, is a fine statue, but not at 11 striking. Bat for real naturalness nd complcteness of design and workmanship combined, the "Arrotino," or Whittler," is the most impressive. Seatd upon the floor, he has been engaged n sharpening hia knife and for the moment appears looking up as if addressed )y some one, or else in temporary ab+ ranfirTi ie Tirnffinndlv r.nofiiJerini? some jurpose for whieh, perohance, the knií'e is jeing sharpened. ïhere has been no atempt to make a handsome face, but its ruth to nature is wonderful in every part. Tlfcse are all the marble sculp,ures admitted to this sanctuary of art. Of the paintings, those that gave us most satisfaotion where all are wonderful, nay be namcd the " Madonna between St. John and St. Franois," by Dol Sarte ; he " Samian Sibyl," by Guercino - a magnificerit sit'ting figtire, with a look of unmistakahlo inspiration ; the " Fornaina " of Eaphael is the portrait of a jeautiful woman and possesses the added nterest of being a veritable likeness as voll as most exquisite picture ; the " Madonna of the Well," as also that of the ' Goldflnch," by Raphael, are both in his room ; and opinions differ as to which s most excellent. Artists seemed to be more generally engaged in copying the atter, in which the child is on tho lap : n the other he stands at the Virgin's side, and the grouping and beauty of the figures and ooloring geem hard to be surjassod. Tho "Virgin Adoring her Child," )y Correggio, is a picture of the greatest ovoliness. "Hercules between Vice and Virtue," by Eubens, is a splendid work, and conveys its sentiment in a niuch more satisfactory manner than some of ;bis artist's productions. Two pictures of ' Venus Reclining," by Titian, are much admired, but there was something rather approaching the grosser form of ness than that of the more delicate in the swelling contour of these undraped figures. Theisitors are not required to coincide in all cases with the decisión of che able judgcs who placed in this small room the presumably best pictures of the whole gallery ; otherwise controversy might arise, for tbere are some who find [ess satisfaction with several of those proferred than with an equal number which they could readily design ate f'rom other rooms. But so arbitrary are the rules by which individual taste is governed that it is probable no two persons, acting independently af each other and unbiased by the ' opinions of others, would have ooincided in more than fifty per cent. of the selections for this Tribune. Yet it may be freely conceded that in the wide world no other room of similar size contains such an unparalleled collection of the rarest wonders of art. Again and again we gtopped in that small room, and never without an increased admiration of the inxpiration that true genius breathes into its work. In the adjoining rooms, designated as the Tuscan school (nearly synonymous with Florentine) were some pictnres of such exceeding beauty that one feels an involuntary surprise that they alao were not placed in the Tribune. The " St. Lucia," by Cario Dolci, an artist whose pictures are so porfectly tinished and convey so touchingly tho afl'ecting sentiment aimed at that they seldom fail to win the spectator's heart. The " Magdalen in the Desert," by C. Allori, and the " Child Jesús Sleeping on the Cross," and two Madonnas, all by the sanie, are very excellent works, and created quite a warm admiration for this artist, whose works aro seldom to be met; but whoso productions are always thoroughly ünished and the faces of gcnuine beauty. The " Medusa's head, byDa Vinci, makes this subject singularly attractive by its splendid treatment. In the rooms of the Flemish and Germán school we had the good fortune to find ono of those rare masterpieces of Claude Lorraino, the prince of landscape painters, but whose works are seldom found in the tourist's pathway, - This is a marine view of large size, and justifies all the unqualified praiso which haa boon aocorded to this artist. In the room devoted to the Dutch Bchool the picturos were generally of small size, and though many were of much merit and in el email private oollection would be of great value, they do not appear to good advantage in tt gallory like this. In the Italian school appeared the namos of well-known artists attached to their works, and it is scarcely necessary to add that we looked with great interest and pleaaureuponanycanvap upon whioh their skillful hands had labored ; Correggio, Guido Iter.i, Titian, S. Eosa, P. Voronese, and others. Two of the rooms which we found extremely interesting were ocoupied entirely by portraits of painters painted by themselves. giving the heads generally of HfG-size. Then there is the " Hall of Ancient Masters," not so agreeable genorally for casual inspeotion, yot often worthy of much study as the precursorsjof tho beautiful creations to follow, The French school was either poorly represented or their best works are not acoessible in Italy. But few of the pictures in this room are especially attraotive.fgln tho Hall of Barroechio, so called after an artist of that name wiioso great care in the exeontion of his works has made them nearly perfect in execution though not always interesting in design, are seveial works by Dalci and Eeni. The Hall of Niobe contains sevoral of those fine ancient statues of a group, ' Niobe and her Children," found at Homo and purehasod by the Medicis in 1583. - These figures represent a variety of human emotions, and are wonderfully true to nature in attitude and expression. According to ancient classical story there were seven sons and seven daugliters, all slain by Apollo and Diana to satisfy the anger of Latona, their rnother. The shock of this great bereavement caused Niobe to be transformed into stone, and her sad story has been made the subject of poetical allnsion in all ages. Ihe Hall of Ancient Bronzes is said to contain the finest colleotion of the kind in Europe, excepting only that of Naples. A fine figure somewhat largor than life, called the "Orator," stands in a graceful attitude as if addressing an audience. The Etrusoan inscriptions cannot be read as yet. It was found near Lake Thrasimene and oxvdation has eaten a multitude of boles through the bronze. " L'Idolino " s a beautiful boy statuette, A large aumber of other attraotions, ancient stataes, busts &c, are to be found in this room. Passing on -we see that celebrated Greek sculpture which hos given its name to the room, the " Hermaphrodite," lying upon a lion's skin, as well as many other interesting works, prineipally anoient. Of the various and very beautiful contents of the Cabinet of Cárneos and Engraved Stones nothing short of a personal inspeotion can give any satlsfactory idea. The precious material and marveloua delicacy of the work surpasscs description. In the work upon these cárneos and designs in amethyst, cornelian, sardonyx, lapis lazzuli, porphyry, chalcedony and sapphire, the great hardness of the material and flneness of the design seemed to provo no obstado in the way of utmost perfection of detail, and every object seemed worthy the most careful study. One of the most interesting objects, however, in this room was of an entirely different description. It was a cast of the face of Dante, taken af ter the great poet's death, and completely verilies the prints often eeen of Dante's portrait. It was almost like seeing the poet hiinself. Some beautiful bas reliëfs oocupy tho " Corridor of Modern Sculptures,' by Verrocchio, Donnatello, Eobbia, and others, some of them being, however, greatly injured by a very general decapitation made by some heathenish soldiers who in 1530 lodged in the Convent of St. Salvi, where some of these reliëfs were first placed. In this corridor is also the mask of a satyr, remarkable mainly for being the first work executed by Michacl Angelo, at the age of only flfteen, and considerably better than boys at that age would generally produce. Of the priceless treasures of art and jewels in the Cabinet of Gems the mere inention of a few will convey some faint idea of this rare and magnificent collection.- Built in octagonal forra, the angles are decorated with four columns of alabaster and four of verde antiquo. A vase of lapis lazzuli, thirtoen inches in diameter ; a vaso in sardonyx, beautifully marked ; a casket in rock crystal, with the life of Christ in twonty-four divisions, ongraved by V. Belli, thought to be the rarest work in the collection ; a cup of rock crystal, with gold enamolled gover bearing the initials of Diana of Poiters; a jasper cup surmounted by a statuette in gold, and ornamented with pearls ; a jasper vase representing a Hydra, ornamented with pearls and a statuotto in gold of Hercules ; a head in turquoise, tho eyos of which are two large diamonds ; a bowl in the form of a sea-shell in blood-red jasper; such were a few of tho four hundred objects contained in the six cases of this collection- raro and wondcrfully beautiful, truly, but one can scarcely restrain the inquiry whether this is a wise direction to give to so much skill and artistic labor. Of tho Hall of Inscriptions, Greok and Latín, rich as it is in ancieni works, no description is attempted, and this closes a very imperfect sketch of the world-renowned Uffizzi gallery, the inspection of which is not completed in a day, and a repeated visitation to which does not make its beautv " pall upon the sense." Every convenience for tho visitor is provided, and centrally in the larger rooms are located upholstered sittings where relaxation and rest may be taken even while the labor of enjoyment may be continued. A very large nunlber of artista, about an equal numbor of either sex, wero occupied in copying, and ven generally their work was admirably wel done. In order to diversify our enjoymenta gomewhat, as alao to enlarge our knowledge of tho city, we occasionally gave a few hours to the moro prominont ohurches. And first always corües the cathedra], though not in all cases either the oldest or even most interesting. The Duomo of Florence is externally one of the finest of Europoan cathedrals. Begun in 1298 and finaily completed in 1464, by the renowned architect Brunelleschi, by whose earnest solicitations the dome, which exceeds that of St. Peter'a in height and diameter, was allowed to be completed after hiR designs. Suoh is the lofty grandeur of this dome that Hicliael Angelo, who or.e hundred years later completed that of St. Petefüj desired to be bufied in such a position in the chnrch of St. Croce that this great work of Brunnolleschi would be vieaible through the open door. The exterior of the edifice is covered with white, black and green marble in a well-exeouted design, which gives a very rich effect to a wall surface so vast. The octagonal choir and altar, directly beneath tho dome, are exceedingly fine, and constructed of highly polished variegated marble with fine reliëfs harmonizing with the massive proportions of tho edifice. The same may be said of the very boautiful tessalated pavement of red, white, and blue marble, whioh spreads out like a great sea of glass. Of the raonumenta in the cathedral we appro priately find that of Brunnellesohi, near the entranco, in the right hand aisle, surmounted by his bust merely. The edifice itself may be said to be his best memorial. Hung upon tho wall of tho left aisle is a painting by Michelius, representing Dante, with a view of Florence in the background and a scène from one of bis poems. This was placed here by the Republic, 1465, and is said to be the only monument erected to the divine poet by publio direction to recompense the gross injustice of his banishment. The Campanile is really a splendid structure of the 14th century, nearly three hundred feet in height, and covered with every kind of colored marbles, and embellished with statues, bas reliëfs, and symbolic figiVes very richly, and by the most celebrated artists. Immured in the wall of one of the buildings opposite the Campanile is the stone seat on which the poet Dante was in the habit of sitting at the twilight hour of summer evenings. - We smile as we go ia search of such ;hings, but who omits to go that has a single grain of genuine sentiment in his oonstitution. Not far from the catUedral g tho Basilica of St. John, " II Baptiatero," as it is called, originally erectod in the 7th century from the materials of a mgan temple entirely covered with. fine uaarble and octagonal in shape. It was at first constructed with the vaulted dome open at tha top like the Pantheon at ■ome, but has since been finished with a antorn which excludes the storm, the ony light being still received through the opening at the top of the dome, and it is quite sufñcient. The most remarcable objects about this church are its celebrated bronze doors. Those upon the southcovered with bas reliëfs illustrating the lifo of St. John, are by Pisano, A. D. 1330, tho bronze ornamentation of the sides or border being by Ghiberti. But the other gatos on tho opposite side from the cathedral are entirely by Ghiberti, and so superior in workmanship and beauty that Michael Angelo said they were worthy to be the gates of paradise. There are ten oompartinents, in eaoh of which is represented a design from scripture history, beginning with creation and the last being the CJueen of Sheba in Solomon'a palace. It is difficult to imag ine anything more beautif ui upon a scale so large. The most interesting chüïch to the stranger in Florence is the S. CrocSi lts facade of pure white marble is of modern construction, with fine panel-work, pinnaoles and pediment, and over the cqntral entrance the half circle concave arch is filled with a remarkably beautiful bas relief representing the elevation of the cross. It is the work of the celebrated Dupré. But it is the interior which concentrates most intersst and renders it a hallowed placo to all admirers of the raany noble dead who here "rest in peace." Directly on entering the side door at the pigbt the eye resta upon the tonib of Michael Angeloi the sarcophagua gurmountby his bust, execüted by Lorenzi. Statues of Painting, by Lorenzi, of Sculpture, by Cioli, and of Architocture, by Gio dell' Opera are represented in attitudes of profound grief on tho monument. He died at Eome in 15G3, haring won a fame of nearly equal distiiiction in each of the sister arts represonted on his tomb.- Next is tho honorary monument crected to Dante in 1829, by Rossi. It is a very tasteful work in pure white marble. The sitting statue of the poet is well executed, and two graceful fcmale figures loan forward at each corner, With features expressive of the utmost sadness. Danto died and Was interred at Ravena in 1331. Af ter these, invarious chapéis and along the left aisle are many fine memorials to names not unknown to fame, and which aro interesting to the vlsitor as works of art. But nearly last, aa vre approach the end of this aislo t?o again stand with silent respect bef ore another of the "few, the immortal names that were not born to die," ia that of Galileo. It is a monument of more pretensión and less exaltod taste than generally characterizes those already referred to. A statuo of the great man surmounts the sarcophagus, holding in his hand the telescope and mannscripts, and at his side Btands a globe with various mathematical instruments. Bas reliëfs representing some of the heavenly bodies are alsö introduced, but without accomplishing any well defined idea in the general design. But what are monuments or fulsome inscriptious worth to perpetúate the memory of such men. The sentiment expressed so well on the tomb of Macchiai velli almost directly1 oppoaite, deolaring the inadequaey of any culogium, is mora simplo and dignified than " Oalilmus Oalileius, Patria Fiorentice Geometría, Astronomía, J'hilosophia, Maximvê Uestitutor nulli cetatis mm eomparandus, hic ben quiescat. Vieit annos 78, ohiit 1641." Few churchtjs have a more precious depository of the noble dead than 8. Croco. Among the many interesting things t bo soen hero we we were moat gratified ia the inspectionof the remarkrbly fine and wellpresorved freeooes of the great raastar Giotto, which have beon discoverecl witbln the last twenty-five years. As wef ga upon these productions so charming in their color and design and so extensivo, it seems scaroely credible tliat in rf . - 30me barbarous ago sinoe Giotto's tima (he died in 1 337) these splendid work were not only unajjpreciatod but actually hidden from sight by the whitewasher'a brushuntil their existenco was wholly forgottcn, and, B8 in the palimpsesto of literature, their repfoduction -wan left to the accident of discovery. But tho instances of this hoathenism and the good fortune of later times are too fiumerons and well tmthenticated to admit of incrodulity. Another somewhat novel as wull as interesting sight was the really fine monument to L. B. Albertini, by Bartolini. In some details this work waS left unfinishpd by tho artist( on account of his own sicktless1 and death, and aa thnse imperfectlons were not of a nature to detract from the real beauty of the sculpture and the reason was obvious, ifc was, with a commendablo regard for the artist, erocted as it was left by him. In the statuo some of the fingers had not been cómpletely separated by working out the ruarble ; a serpent whioh appears in the design had its head but faintly indicated as yet, and these things, small ia themselves, yet most strangely enforced the lesson that " ín the midst of life we are in death." One of the most conspicuous nd in- toresting of the ancient edifices of the city is the Palazza Veechio, at the southern angle of Piazza Signoria. It wa9 erected in the 13th century, and more resembles a fortress than a place for the oonvocation of the oítü authorities. lts upper story, the fifth, projects over those below three or four feet, and a castellated ballustrade surrounds the top. Abo ve all ascends the tower of like solid material andstyle, to a total height of 300 feet from the pavement. The court enclosed is in great contrast to thig grim exterior. The columns are riohly ornameüted with bas reliëfs by Michelozzi. A fountain of porphyry is surmounted by a beautíful small statue in bronze, by Verrocchio, of a boy holding a fish, and other statuary is grouped in the small area. The Hall of the Five Hundred has its ceiling and walls covered with frescoes illustrating Florentino history, but at the time of our visit this fine hall was sadly disflgured by the debris caused by the removal of the fixtures and partitions no longer required for the Italian Parliament, which has followed the King to his court at Kome. Tho Hall of tho Two Hundred has its ceiling of stucoo and gilt, of an exceedingly rich design. Many of the apartmeut assigned to various high functionaries of former times are of equally fine finish. But 'tis time to ose. Ever yours,


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