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Foreign Correspondence

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EüilE, Deo. 23, 1872. Friexd Pos: The weather had been horriblo during our stay at Florence, and the prospect for a change for tho botter soeuied almost hopclcss just at that season of the year, for November and December are set down as the most disagreeablo tnonths of the Florentino calendar ; we therefore determined to do up our sight-seeing as rapidly as we could consistontly, and prepare for our exodus to Home. The conclusión of our labora wil] be briefiy recorded herein. The church of the Annunciation is one that repaya a visit, though a detailed desciiption cannot be attempted here. The entrance is through. a court the arcades of which on either sido were foniierly open oud adornad with fiuefrcscoes by the eminent painter A. Drl Sarto, and others, portraying scones in the life of the Vii gin Mary, of St. Philip Benizzi, and of the Saviour. To protect these valuable paintings a glass enclosure has been extended aloag the arcades. Many fine pictures are to bo fouuJ. in the interior, by eminent artista., There are also gome tino monument 8, intoresting as works of art merely, except thftt to the master Gian Bologna, whoso works adorn tlio cities of Italy and are frequently to be found in Gerinany and elsewhere, and always of great excellence. The fifth chapei of the ohoir was constructel by this artist at his own expense and after his om design, and thü Crucifix over the altar and reliëfs are all by hira. And here, surrounded by theso works of his own hands, stands his tomb - in itsèlf plain and not noteworthy. But most interest is attached to ths chapei of Annunciation. It contains a picturp of the Yirgm which popular belief ascribes to a angel and as usual in such cases this particular chapol is made still more gorgeous with sil ver and precious stones and valuable works in marble, rendering the illusion still more complete to the creduloaa minde of the great mass of woi'shipers. The revered picture is behind the altar and only exhibitod on great occasions. Still more remarkable and interesting is the church of S. Lorenzo, finished in lts preient form after the designs of Brnnelleschi, the architect of the cathedral. - This church is especially related to the Medici family who caused its erection, and in the sacristy and chapéis of which the visitor is constantly reminded of that once powerful name, In the right aisle is the monument to the distinguished modern painter Benvenuti, by Thorwaldsen, and the fino corinthian columns which support tho aisles and dome and the two pulpits decorated with very admirable reliëfs by Donatello, as well as its general interior, make it attractive as a church ; but to strangers the interest is more in its adjuncts. Yet it must not be overlooked because of its want of conspiouousneas that immediately in front ot the high altar, beneath the large slab of white marble in the paveraent, lie tho the mortal remains of "Cosmo I. - Pater Patrite," as the inscription records, one of the most honored of the Mediéis and the real founder of'their controlling influence in tho State. Ile died in 1464. The old sacristy contains many valuable works by Donetello - the bronze doors hearing bas reliëfs, statues of the evangelista, the bust of St. Lawrence, and the monument to John of the Mediéis and his wii'e were all executed by him. There is here also a very rioh sarcophagus of porphyry, supported upon bronze feet of tho most exquisitely fine workmansliip, erected upon a marble pedestal and forraing tho monument to the two sons of Cosmo. It was tho work of Yerrocchio. But in tho new saeristy and chapei of tho princes is to be witnessed the most sumptuous of all mcmorials, unitirrg the greatest profusión of expense as well as maguificence of material and elabo'-aüon, constituting together the grand sepulchral receptacle and monument of this family of pjinces and popes. We entered the Medici chapei from Piazza Madonna by descending a few steps into a spacious ground floor apartment octagonal in form, with frequently ïvcurring strong columns to support tho superstructura. The ceiling above was not exceeding ten feet in beight, and tho pavcment was of solid flagging of marble. At long intervals over this spacious iloor occur the names of those members of the family whose remains are beueath. Passing through this somewhat singular vestíbulo we as cended to tho chapei above, and there indeed werc fairly taken by surprise at the uiassive richness and yet general' tastefulness of this splendid apartment. It is octagonal in form, with e very portion of its walla oovered with the most beautiful of polishad marbles, with all the architoctural projectious of pilaster, frieze, inouldings, &c, formed of marbles variously shaded and with a kind of stono like potrified wood in appearance, extremely valuable and beautiful, the entiro base was lined. About the coping of tho chapei, at regular intervals, were inserted the names of the sixtoen principal Tascan towus with their respective armonal hearings, all doneiu a n:osaic of preoioue stones, togother with other oi-namentation inlaid vrith. equally raro materials. In six niches formed at a height of something near fiitoen feet in these marble wallg aro the finelycarved granito sarcophagi of the heads of this family, for whom this burial chapei has been in process of construction from 1005 iintil the present time, and upon which a number of workmen aro still constantly employed. Above all rose the noble dome in which great cvents of bible histery are represented, by Benvenuti. This chapei wuaoiiginally begnn by Ferdinand i., as a receptado for the Holy Hepulchre, whieli he had boped to secure from tho infidels. Failing, however, in this, Cosmo, One of his succossors, dostined it to receive the tombs of the family, and already, it is said, noarly 1,000,000 pounds sterling have been expended, and the work iS stiJl going on, as we could distinctly hear in the lower portions of tho gorgeous mausoleum. Yut this groat family once so powerful, and by its numerous alliances connected w.itfi some of the noblest of tho land, has been extinct from 1737. Butthisisnot all, for suoh ia the magnifioent soale upon whioh this family projeoted its plans that nearly a century beforo. this ehapel had been thought of Pope Clement Vil., who was ono of the Medici, for tho similar purpose of providing a suitable resting placo for his kindred,hadgiven directions to Michael Angelo to construct a chapul, which was accordingly dono and is that portion of the S. Lorenzo known as tho new aacristy. The monuments of this chapol deservedly rank as among the very best works of Michael Angolo. Thafc of Julián of the Mediéis, brother of Pope Leo x., who died 1510, represents the Duke soated semewhat above tho two other figures personii'ying day and night and standing over the tomb. All are remarkably fine statues, and the wholo constitntes a noble monument. The "Xiglit" was so muoh admired by the peet Strozzi that he penned some lines upon it in Italian verse, which, our one-armed guide recited with much apparent earuestness. Upon the opposite side of the ehapel is anothcr and in some respects similar iucnument to Lorenzo di Medici, who died 1318. - Tho Duke of Urbino ia represented in an aittitude of such profound meditation and with such perfect naturalnes3 that it has received the unusual commandation of being designated " II Pt-nsiero." Ifc is a wonde rf'ully expressive piece of sculpture. ün either sido stand beautifülsymbolic figures of "Twilight" and "Dawn," which lose somewhat of tho appreciation they would recoive wero thoy not placed in such proximity to the "Night" and " Day.'' It is not often that wu meet with monumental architecture expanded to such vast proportions to perpetúate tho mevnory of a single family, and this must justify our somswhat extended descriptiou. St. Mark'g ia another of the interesting churches of 1his city. It was built in the 13th century, and has some fine paintings; but it is the associations that are connected with the cloisters that most attract the tourist, for those noble artist monks Fra Angolica and Fra Bartollomeo both lived here for some timn, and that other not less celebrated patriot and hero monk the martyr Savonarola for a time found shelter there frorn the perils which ñnally kindled his funeral pyre. Tho monastery has, however, been suppressed, and the building is now fitted up and occupied as a museum where, among othor things, the most valuable are the pictures, several of which are by tho monks Angélica and B.irtolomeo. The sqnare and church of tí. Maria Novelln were near our lodgiugs, and we often passed that way, stopping occasionally to look at the church, which was sufliciently beautiful to be oalled by M. Angolo "his bride." lts facade of fine rnaible panels, pilasters, and other decorations in darker shades, is somewhat after the samo style as that of S. Croce, tkough mnch less olaborate. The church was completed about live hundred years ago, and the facado a little more than four hundred. A somewhat noticeable marble arcado endoses a court adjoining the street and piazza the arches being closed up. In tho panels below each is inlaid with coiored marbles a shield bearing the arms of somo of the Italian cities. Projecting from the facade near the right hand entranco is a marblo slab of about four feet by four, upon thesides of which are constructed aq uadraut and two conccntric meridians, the work of Ignaziu Dante, in 1572. The interior of this spauious edifico is made to appear still larger by au architït!'!'al devico as novel as it is effeotive. Tho vaulting of the arches in the ceiling of tho nave is so constructed as to occupy less distance successively as they approach the high altar, by whieh tho effect of tho perspectiva is considerably enhanced. Tho cloisters are the most extensive in Florence and possess semo superior' frescoos, but we did not ask admission to them nor to the pharmacy, whose reputation for the perfumery there ïnanufacturud by the mouks is somewhat extensivo. The Academy of Fine Arts is a colleetion of painUngs combining also schools in which drawing, painting, architecture, .&e., are taught. While the paintings in the aggregate fall far bolow tho great collections in the Ufnzzi and tho Pitti, yet there aro many that possees the highest meiit and bear the names of the great masters. Thero are aeveral rooms occupied by the gallory, and the arrangement bas boen made chronologically rathcr than in schools, and much more easily understood by the uninitiated. In the six rooms devoted to modern paintings aro many very beautiful pictures, but of course by artists whoso names havo not crosscd the Atlantic. There is a iVcshness of coloring and oftjn a delioaoy of finish in theso later works which mako them exceedingly attractivo. A " Jesús Blessing tho Children,'1 by Vogel, win quite original in tho treatment of this subject. The children were in their childliko simplieity clinging to and elimbing about tho iflhey had found somo dearly lovcil, indulgent friend, while the benignant Master's faco ezpressos a Batisfaction not unmirigled with human kindliness. We werö also much interested in the cxtivmely beautiful portraits in was, by Santarelli, which are exhibí tud in thoso rooms. They possessed tlie clearnesa and delicacy of cameos with the advantage of much higher relief and less oonSneröertt to profilo. Curiosity induced üs to visit the Etruscan and the Egyptian museum, though much of the advantago of such an tunity Í3 lost to those wbo have not made these matters the subject of special study. The first room oontained a very large numbor of the so-called black vases, the color inilicating the inouruing purposos for which they wero designed. Nearly p.ll wore found in Etrusoan tombs, and such is Üiü indestructible (.-haracter and thoir frocdom from in jury within their scpulchral depositónos that nearly all wcro as perfect as if of but recent manufacture. The varíaos pictörial and enigmatical inscriptions are cxtremely striking from theapparent skill they manifest. And it scems a singular inisfortuno that hitherto thero has been no"rosetta tone" or sufficient clow to unlock tbe long-forgotten secret of this hieroglyphic languagc, by which the history of that strange poople would be Sxplained and understood, These vaso3 nro of all sizes from one inch in height to two feet, and generally of very graceful shape and proportiona. One vase occupied tho post of honor in the center of the room and under glass, being the largest and most valuabte as vet discouered. The fortúnate fiuder was a Prenchman, an amateur explorer, and it is called the French vase by way of distinction. There are also raany inscriptions upon tiles as well as urns and bas reliëfs giving some idea of the industry and skill of that extinct peopie, butstill more exciting an ungratified ouriosity to learn more. The Egyptian'detjartment is not less fnll and interesting. Scvcral stono and granito sarcophagi with the lids removed showed thn inscriptions and drawings upon t!'3 whole interior. They woro of' very gruat size, but generally the thickness of the sides did not exceod about three inches. A sarcophagus of cyprus wood iippeared to show soarcely any traco of decay, though its date was probably long anterior to the Christian era. A nionolith eovered with Egyptian characters, which onea belonged to the Temple of Isis, and a statuo of Pharaoh ín blaok granito, found near Thebes, are among the cuiiosities. The latter does not give the characteristic features of the African as we know hito, and wa do not feel sure that the material used was intended to denote the monarch's complex? ion. There are numerous specimens of tho personal ordamentSi domestic utensils, farming implements, pictures, Writings on papyrus and linen, vases, embalmed animáis, atona figures, masks, symbol3, and even of tho wearidg apparel and tho renmautsof a rush-bottome.d chair, which 3,000 yoars ago administered to the wants and daily lit'j of Piiaraoh's coutemporaiies. The edifico in which tliis extensiva museum is located was formerly the menastery of St. Inofrio, now suppressed, and in the refectory in lSiüa very fine fresco of the Last Supper was discovered upon the end wall, which has been. froed from the superimposed whitewash and dirt and now eppears with porrect clearness and much of its pristine beauty. lts authorship Í3 unknown, but its nierit may be inferred from the fact that it has been imputed to Raphael. With great appropriateness the reinaining wall spac'o of the room has boen devoteil to an exhibition of prints of all the most important picture3 of this great incident in out Savior's life. Sixty of these paintings may bo here examined in these prints thus conveniently displayed sido by sido. It forms a vory agreeablo study to take the several renáerings which great artists have made of this or any other great themo and institute a comparison. In such casos there will naturally occir somo striking coineidences of thought, not always perhaps accidental nor yet necsssarily feloneous. But in tho present caso it was remarkably true that none has given any representation exceeding in ideal excellence the great picture ot Da Yinci, though between its general design and this newly discovered fresco, as well as in tho case of two or three others, there is an approach to resemblance in the grouping. None so well as Da Vinci bas raado everything and e very person combine to vitalize tl' at momentous incident of tho supper when those terrible words foll from the Savior's lips, " One of you will betray mo." A notice has just appparod in tho papers that in the refectory of the suppressed convent of S. Caterina, at Jlilan, ;t copy of Da Vinci's great picture bas just boen discovered aml restored from its veil of whitewash. In essential particular it is a copy, though in some other particulani it has additional features. It is supposed to be the work of Fiamenghino, who was boni in 1017. We do hot leave Florence without regret, for there are some things which wo lnave unseeri which -we had mticipated with much pleasuro. Not tho loast of theso wils our inability to viïit tbe studio of our groat ftrtigt, Powerg, whose locality is somewhat distant from the more common city routes, and tho visit was postporied until too lato. This year his been an unusually wet oné, as tho inundations all over J.taly sb.ow, and from the observations made in some places tho average rainfall has exceeded that of forrher ycars by at listone tliird. This and eold combined maka tho tourist businoss not the most fascinating omploynient, even in Florence We aro tcld that April and May are tho most agreoablo months at Florence, and in the fall September and October are better than later. After a laborions but highly intaresting two weeks anrid its very ixiany fascinating attractions we bade adieu to the Qucen City of Italy, taking tickets directly to liome. Thcro are font routes comewhal differing in thuir interest to tourists, one by way of LeghorB andboat to Civita Vecchia and thence to Romo by rail ; a secoud to Ijoghorn and thence along the coast to Koms. Except in favorable weather the sea trip is not agreoable and the coast road is not attractivo , another is more interior and passes Siena, Orvioto, and Viterbo, all interesting places ; i but we took tho fourth aspromising most tu interest vis, though we did nofc iutend to stop on the way. Of our pleasarit ride and arrival at the Eternal City another letter must teil. Yours ever,


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