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Foreign Correspondence

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Paris. Mav 25. 1873. Frienu Pond: We have not beeu idle n this greal city, for to accomplish anything one must keep stirring. It is not an easy thing to see the various points of interest without both considerable effort as wel] as labor, so great are the distances to be overeóme in a city whose limits reach the horizon, apparently, on every side. Among the great sights every one concedes the first place to the collections at the Louvre, and it is a great satisfaction to say that it is one of the most accessible, being not only central in the city but entirely free to the public daily, from 10 to 5 o'clock, without the formality of permits or even the annoyance of gratuities, resembling in this the equally oelebrated galleries of Florence, and very unlike the great Vatican collections. Entering the spacioua court we make our way to the department of sculpture upon the ground floor. A mere statement of the general contenta of these numerous and well filled rooms will explain both thoir great extent and the reason why no enuinoration can be attempted. Abont twenty rooms are occupied by the ancient sculptures, and though containing many excellent works there is something wanting in the arrangement which renders it lesa satisfactory than any part of the Vatican. Among them, however, is that most celebiatod as well as wonderfully beautiful statue, the Venus of Milo, found in 1820 in the island of Melos, and regarded very justly as the gem of the collection. Though the arms are wanting theru is such a matcbless beauty in the face and fio-nrp o - that no restoration would be likely t improve it. The Diana of "Versailles with the dog apparently seeking her pro tection, is nearly as well known am beautiful, but in different style. Th Borghese Gladiator is a striking work o Greek art, as notable for ita wonderfu expression of masterly action as the Dying Gladiator of the Capitol is for it expiring energy. The placing of statue supposed by savans to be portraits of the same " oíd Roinan" side by 6de affords a good opportunity to observe how difficul is the task of identifioation in such cases In the five or six rooms dovoted to modern sculptures, a period is embracec reaohing baok to the beginning of the 17th century, contaminar some very fine works. An equal number of rooms devoted to sculptures of the Renaissance period of Art has the celebrated Diana Chasseresse, a half-reclining female figure, ssid to be a portrait statue of the favorite of Henry II., Diana of Poitiers as as she is generally called, who had no noteworthy modesty to prevent the neoessary sittings for this work by Jean Goujon. The two prisoners, one nearly finished and inuoh commended by critics, the other quite incomplete, by Michaei Angelo, are supposed to have been intended to form part of the monument of Juliug II., for which the Moses was originally designed. It is singular that we are constantly meeting with the unfinished works of thig great artist, quite as many as of his completed productione, while we scarcely find in the galleries the imperfect soulptures of any other hand. A very largo relief in Bronze by the famous Benvenuto Cellini, once forming the arch of a wide doorway at Pontainebleau, is, like all his works, quite perfect and beautiful. Then comes the Egyptian Museum, well ulied with sarcophagi, mummies, and those ourious images, reliëfs, tableta, te, which batik) our inquines after their history. Here we see a sphinx of reddish granite, sitting bolt upright.finelypolished but rudely sculptured, with the emblema of royalty inscribed, on its breast and which is supposed to represent to the son of Ramisis IL, who presented the Israelites. But we cannot pursue our vagaries with much satisfaction among these, nor in the opposite Assyrian collection, where are arranged the results of exoavations made in 1843 to '45 by the French consul in Syria, in the vicinity of Nineveh, winged bulls with human heads, reliëfs and fragments of various edifloes, and Assyrian inscriptions which are quite diffioult to read though very legible. Booms for antiquities from Asia Minor, froin Algiers, and for Greek reliëfs complete this floor. Asoending now the wide stairway to the flrst floor (our second story), we find ourselves at the beginning of that series of inany rooms and halls oontaining the famous Picture Gallery. They are filled with live general divisions, the Italian, Germán, Dutch, Spanish, and French sohools, and the length of the galleries, if in a straight direction, would extend three-fourths of a mile, with the walls on either hand completely fillei with the multitudes of pictures, many of them world renowned and priceless. Among the most noted we find here that great picture by Murillo, the " lm macúlate Conception," so familiar and so much prized even in engravings. It is one of the most valued pleasures of travel that we are thus brought into the presenco of these inimitable productions of the world's greatest artists, and for a brief space lo ok upon the very work of their hands and the canvass over which their genius has successfullybrooded. Murillo is better known to us by smallor pictuies than this, his Madonnas and beggar boys and Spanish portraits, but beautiful as nearly all his works are admitted to be, none boars the artist into a realm so high and unapproachable as this. In coloring, grouping, and expression it seems a fit presentation of the grand and difficult subject. It is about 10x14 feet in size, and was purchased for the gallery at the inoredible sum of 615,300 francs. Thero is anothar picture by Murillo upon the same subject and nearly as large, but in whioh the inspiratiou of the former ia wholly wanting. A nativity by him is much better, and his Vierge au Chapelet is nearly as beautiful as his Madonna iu the Pitti at Florence. Here we find also one of the finest works of Paul Veronese - the Marriage at Cana - tho largest picture in the gallery (32x21 feet), and displaying the peculiar excellencios of this prolific artist, rich drapery, fine grouping, and architectural accessories. Many of the faces are portraits, Fraiicis I. and his young queen, Charles V., Mary Stuart and others, the last named having a very youthful and bewitching beauty, though robed in a yellow silk. The " La femme hydropique," by Gerard Dow, is said to be the masterpiece of this well kown Dutch artiat. Then there is the noted St. Michael of Raphael, between whih and that of Guido, critícs diffor as to superiority, and a Holy fainily and the Madonna of the garden, a subject in which his pencil never fails. But this special notice njust stop for whon the works of Correggio, Guido, Da Vinci, Del Sarto, Van Dyke, Titian, Giotto, Luini, Guercino and similar artista are displayed, to give all is impossible. Nearly all the Sest European artists are represented by " jood specimens of thoirskill, and among ;he very large number there are yery 'ew really poor pictures. In the grand gallery is a series of 12 er 15 large pictures, uniform in size, paiuted jy order of Marie de Sledecis, queen of 3enry IV., illustrative of various events n her own life and intended to adorn he palace of the Louxumburg which she lad just caused to be erected, 1615. They are the work of Rubens and his pupils. and the fulsome pencil flattery of the artist was no doubt highly compensated and relished by the vain queen. Amona; he older pictures of the French school we meet for the first time, upon any large scale, with the productions of Joseph Varnet, Nicholes Poussin,Claude Lorraine and Lesseur. It must, however, bo confessed that we lack appreciation of the admitted high merit of Poussin. As a general thing his pictures of landscapes appear vacant and the coloring is quite uniformly of a dull green and sombro tone and bis people seldom bear a close sorutiny, but he has been comniended for his foliage and trees particularly, and it has not been deemed an exaggoration by gome to say that he brought landscape painting to perfection, yct thore is a want of softness and dolicacy of tone observable in most of his pictures which does not favorably impress us, and it is diffiult to under9tand why he should be called the Eaphael of Prance. Vernet is celebrated for his battle pieces, and a series of sea views representing the harbors of Prance, all hung side by side, would appear more satisfactory if met with singly. Lesseur is a pamter of older date, and most of his pictures are of religious aubjects. Many of these here exhibited are from the life of St. Bruno, and are thought to be quite fine. The pictures of Claude Lorraine are much more agreeable to the eye than either of the others; there is a luxurious glow and warmth in the very atmosphere, a delicate haziness and softness in the representations which are exceedingly pleasant to look at and peculiar to this pain ter. Yet there is soinewhat of sameness in the impression left by all his works, even the sea views and landscapes have a sort of resemblance, though a careful study displays a real and wonderful variety of detail in the completion of every portion of tiis pictures. Of the more recent Frenen painters, the pictures by Greutz were uniformly excellent and effeotive, and his " broken pitcher" had several copyists about it. A portrait of herself and daughter, by Madame Le Brun, is a most beautiful work both in ita design and execution. The two large works by Rosa Bonheur we looked at with all the interest of novelty and high expectation as we had not jefore seen any production from her ïand. There is something very noble and life-like in her great oxen at the plow, and it would be difficult to idealize more beauty in these simple farm scènes with so few accessories, but it did seem as if we had never seen the whole sky in a picture some twelve feet square, so uni"ormly and deeply blue (these two beonging to the Louxumburg gallery). Several works by David justify his great reputation ; go also it ruay be said of those oi Gross tind Gerard, but after all there is a greater satisfaction in lingering among the beautiful creations of the Anoient Masters, and particularly in all attempts at religious subjects they were unapproachable by the Modems : and for genre paintings we go back to Teniers, Ostade, Watteau, with ever fresh delight. It requirea visit after visit to these large galleries to be able to carry away definite ideas even of the paintings most admired, and aside froni the general and indefinite satisfaotion received froni the passing review there is doubtless some real pleasure in the careful and undisturbed contemplation of a small collection of the best pictures or even of a single great masterpiece at a time. Leaving this part of the Louvre for urther inspection, we pass through the vestibule into the rooms surrounding the. ourt of the old Louvre, and here, too, ,he multiplicity of curious and remarkable objeets, brought together in the lalls, is such that thoir general character s all that oan be indicated as we pasa along ; first, howevor, stopping in the vestibule a moment to admire the oeiling laintings by Bloudel, the fine vase, and he beautiful mosaio floor uriounding he latter. The first room oontains a valuable collection of works in enamel ewelry, and rare objeots from the meiwval and renaissance periods. Next is nother room devoted to some of the best workg of the lato French gohool, and where we learn to look with greatly inreased respect npon the modern produciona, here representod by Gericault in is " Hussar" and " Cuirassier," Prudhon'a " Crime purgued by Justioe ;" the Battle of Eylau" by Gros and his parte in the plague hospital at Jaffa ;" Gerard's " Cupid and Psyche," and the "Sabine Women between the Roman and Sabine Corabatants," and other excellent works by other artiats. The exteusive collections made by the late Emperor, and called the Musee Napoleon III, are on this floor - very comfortably arranged and in rooms rich with fine ceiling paintings. Room after room succeeded each other, each filled with some special collection, Pheniciau inscriptions, sculptures, etc, from Cyprus, vases, terra cotfas, etc, from Ehodes ; Syrian ornamenta and amulets in the first, three werb ocoupied by Etruscan vases, urns, reliëfs, etc, of great variety and value, two with the most ancient forma of vases, one with the inore recent, next one with objects in clay, drinking cupB, etc, and the last of this series with objects in glass nd fresco paintings carefully cut from the original walls in Pompeii.and, though quite small, these latter were astonishingly fresh and even excellent. Another series of niue rooms are occupiedby Greek, intrusean, Koinan and Egyptian antiquities, and being generally made up of stnall objectsthe number seems incredible, yet there is no confused, hap-hazard comniingling of any, but each distinot specimen down to the tiniest tear bottle, idol and scaraboji or amulets is in proper place and duly number. The five rooms devoted to Egyptian curiosities are especially full, and one of them is appropriatoly adorned with a bust of the distinguished French archeologist, Chompallion. Pour rooms contain the Musee dea Souterains, as it is called, from the tact that the objects here preserved have.additional interest beyond their intrinBic richness and beauty from personal association with ncted royal personages- a chair of king Dagobert, prayer book of Charles the Bold, sword and spurs of Charlemagne, etc. One of this suite of rooms was voted to the exhibition of Souvenirs of Napoleon L, but at present we are not permitted to drink in Napoleonic inspiratiou from the sight of his celebrated gray coat and three cornered hat - the hat he wore in St. Helena- aud we pass through the room and seeonly the empty shelves, and the only object that is not hidden from view is a sruall silver statue of Napoleon when a young lieutenant and, as yet, a good Republican. In the center of the ceiliug overhead is carved in high relief, Napoleon, and this is all thaiis visible of the mementoes that recall the most reraarkable man in Prench history, and it is scarcely necessary to add that our disappointment was great. Two rooms contain specimens of Italian Faience, a species of colored porcelain or pottery with raised figures of various kinds, one of similar work by the celebrated Bernard Palissy, A. D. 1589, upon which allmannerof beasts, birds, reptiles, etc., are represented with great skill and in high relief ; but wherein the once great valué of this kind of ware lay we could not discover, for any real use it was unfltted, and lizards, frogs, snakes, etc., are not in general the objects of beauty with which we decórate our rooms. The following collection of inetalic and bronze articles would furnish a good study for a day in its varied assortment of oíd locks, keys, knives, einbossed plates, etc. ; a room filled with glass and porcelain of medieeval times, etc., highly interesting, contains also a large representation of the Lion of Venice, in glass mosaic of the 16th century, from the celebrated works on the Islaud of Murano. The Lanvegeot coilection, bequeathed by an amateur of that name, is very valuable and interesting in ancient miniatures, carvings and small articlea of great variety and beauty. In the next room are curiosities of the renaissance and mediseval periods, and on the wall and Altar piece carved in ivory, which contains in its perfect figures a history of Christ, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist, and is a work of such manifest skill and patiënt labor that we are fairly amazed as we behold this and similar works we have elsewhere seen. We now enter in succession 14 rooms containing one of the best known collections of the original drawings of al] the great painters of ancient and recent times, almost bb interesting as the finished pictures, and to the Art student of great value. Some of the drawings are quite perfect as pictures, others are but the merest outlinns. One of these rooms contains some beautiful pastile portraits which make us sometime wonder why we do not see them more often in colleotions. In the last room on this floor we find a rich display of antique bronze implements, statuettes, ancient ornaments in gold and silver, seals, keys, etc, Eoman weapons, helmets, shields, etc. You may possibly feel a little confused in any attempt to understaud what all this endless array of curious objects individually were, but had you gone through the rooms themselves you would be scarcely less so. But do not weary, you have often heard of the Louvre and its collections, and this sketch is intended only to convey to you a faint conception of its magnitude and variety. i? mie eugngpu. m mis auempt iet u go on and dispose of it. Upon the floor above the one just exainined is the inost extensive as well as best arranged collection we have ever seen of everything conneoted with ships and ship-building, navigation, and marine supplies, plans of harbors and piers, cannon and mortars and numerous interesting relies. The model of one 120 gun ship was nearlv 30 feet long and perfectly and fully rig'ged and armed, indeed, this is true of a dozen others not so large, but representing vessels of war as constructed at various periods, so that in these eleven rooms a complete history of the Freneh marine is automatically exhibited, including also the scientific and nautical instrumenta used at sea. The rooms which follow are dovoted to the curiosities frora China Japan, África, and Mexico, the result of various Prenoh expeditions and contain an immense number of beautiful as well assingulajrobjectsbearing upon the life and habits of those people. And here we close this notice, in a single letter of the various rich collections of the Lou'vre and need only add as furtherevidence of their extent the mere catalogue of the vure uucupy luree volumes, or if bound , ,ta T6ry tbÍfk Octavo of npwards of a 1,000 pages This of course is much the largest but there are other collection. of great interest and of considerable size to which our steps have wandered ; but you have had enough of this sort of information for the present. Ever yours, J. M. WHEELEE.


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