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hesitation in saying, that it would imply a more advanced state of the art of relief, thau could be inferred from the most exquisite vase of antiquity,

This is not the only subject which Homer has furnished to Canova; he has executed in the same inauner, and with the same happiness, the Consignment of Briseis from the hands of Patroclus to the Heralds, and the Offering of the Trojan Matrons, from the Iliad ; and the Return of Telemachus, from the Odyssea; the second book of the Æneid has been the ground-work for a Death of Priam; Euripides has supplied a Mad Hercules destroying his own children, in which the countenance of the maniac, and the various attitudes, situations, and ages of the children are most exquisitely delineated ; and the illustrious disciples of Socrates have occasioned four pieces commemorative of that great philosopher, with the following titles: Socrates saving the Life of Alcibiades, Socrates near his Death dismisses froin him his Fanily, Socrates in the act of drinking the Poison, and Socrates dead; all evidently subjects well adapted to relief, but totally out of the reach of any other kind of sculpture.

The groupes and single figures of Canova are very numerous; from the time that he devoted himself to sculpture alone (for in early life he seems to have hesitated between the sister arts of poetry and sculpture), he has been very regular and industrious in his application, and he executes with great rapidity. A cata. logue of his works, however, would give no idea of their num. ber, as the same piece has been frequently repeated, either from his own partiality, or the preference of those who have employed "him. We shall speak of none which we have not some personal knowledge of; and, as our limits admonish us, we shall be brief in our observations on these. The general character of Canova's style is marked by great freedom and decision, consistent with a respectful adherence to the models found among the legacies of antiquity. Perhaps in some instances this adherence bas been carried too far; to us it seems a little too learned to give Helen a bald and oval crown to her head; and we object, though we know that we tread even upon the heels of Poidias himself when we venture to object, to the golden frontlet on the brow of Hebe, and the golden urn in her hand. We are aware that no usage is more consecrated by the practice of all antiquity, yet it does appear to us a most inconsistent one. It has of late become usual to vary the shades of a profile, to give lightness to the hair, and whiteness to the shirt and cravat. It is said that this is an improvement, and an advancement towards a miniature painting; and so it is an advancement which makes the thing itself neither profile, nor painting; and the effect produced by к kg


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this change of colours is, to make that attended to, which it is
the very 'essence of profile to disregard ; and as the shirt, white
in reality, is given white on the paper, we naturally infer that the
face black on the paper, is also black in reality. The attempt
to give reality to any part of a whole which is intended for imita-
tion, seenis to involve the same absurdity in sculpturë, as that to
which we have alluded in profile drawing. If, because Hebe
really poured vectar from a golden urn, her statue is also to have
a golden urn instead of a marble copy in its hand, by the same
fule some liquor as like nectar as may be, should be placed in the
um; by tlie same rule, colour should be given to her cheeks, and
a muslin or gauze robe thrown round her for drapery. It it easy
to see that this practice consistently followed, would end in the
total destruction of sculpturé as a fine art. No

To one, we pre-
sume, will defend the busts so often exhibited, in which marbles.
of different colours are adapted to the different parts of the
head and dress ; no one can behold without a prophane smile,
the misdirected devotion, which, in small Catholic churches, is
suffered to dress up the pictures of the Virgin and child with
real ornaments and clothes; yet both these practices may be
well defended, if Phidias or Canova be right in theirs; but the
inconsistency to which they necessarily lead, and the false prin-
ciple on which tliey are founded, are manifest in all three.

As compared with sculptors of elder times, Canova is remark-
able for the superior interest which he throws into faces of re-
pose or beauty; in this respect, perhaps the very faultless har-
mony of features observable in antient statues, becomes itself a
fault, as dinamishing the interest of spectators. Canova was em
ployed to supply a Venus for the Florentine Gallery, in place of
the celebrated de Medicis; the substitute stands now with the
other choice treasures of that inestimable collection, in the oca
tagon room of the Tribuna, and it may be matter of speculation
for the gallantry of the Dilettanti to determine how to disposé
of her, when the original Goddess herself returns to her long
abandoned shrines.

Ipsa Paphum sublimis abit, sedesque revisit
Læta suas ; ubi templum illi, centumque Sabæo

Thure calent aræ, sertisque recentibus halant.
Our reason for mentioning the Venus of Canova, was to illus.
trate the remark preceding. It would be invidious to compare
the two statues, and the modern artist has with great judgment
put it out of our power, by the size and drapery of his own
work; but there can be no question, that in beauty of face, if
expression be the life of beauty, he has a decided superiority.

Another peculiarity of his style, we imagine, consists in the

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polish of the human skin; this is a matter of mere detail, and, yet its effects are considerable. A polished surface usually carries with it the idea of hardness; the beauty of the human skin consists in a smooth, elastic softness. We think, therefore, that the very high polish of some of the antient statues, and of tliose of Michael Angelo, and the luminaries of his age, is prejudicial to their effect. Canova chastens the polish of the skin, and re-, lieves it by an increased brilliancy of the drapery and objects around.

One of the great uses to which tlie talent of the most eminent sculptors has been employed since the Christian æra, is the adorning the sepulchres of the dead. We are rather iuclined to think that in times anterior, this department was consigned, if not to very inferior, certainly not to the eminent artists of the day, who seem to have reserved themselves for living greatness, or the shrines of Divinity. Canova has had his full share of this employment; Venice is enriched with several of his moną. ments, but of this description the best which we have seen is the tomb of Alfieri in the Church of Santa Croce at Florence. Every one who has read the memoirs of this singular man must kņow something of the Countess d'Albany: neither separation nor ţime seem to have shaken her devoted attachment; and we know not how she could more appropriately, or more decidedly have honoured the memory of the departed poet, than by erecting his mausoleum by those of the greatest men whom Italy has ever produced Boccaccio, Galileo, and Michael Angelo sleep here, not to mention Machiavelli, a slandered name, whose tomb bears this short inscription, “Tanto nomini nullum par elogium. The tomb of Alfieri is a large Sarcophagus, sura moualed at each corner by a scenic masque; in the centre of it is the medallion of the poet; a single colossal figure, crowned as the antient Cybele, and personifying Italy, stands 'leaning ou the tomb, and weeping. There is something in the simplicity of this composition, and the size of all the parts, that is very sublime and imposing ; any thing so very simple, and seemingly so common, must suffer by description, but those who bave seen the tomb, will consider our praise of it as falling far short of the limits of justice.

The Magdalene of Canova we have only seen in a cast, but so good a one, as to strike us very forcibly. She is on her knees, and, leaning backward, her long loose hair falls carelessly on her shoulders and over her breast; her streaming eyes are fixed on the cross, which she bolds in both her hands before her, and her speedy departure is announced by the general appearance of wasting and debility, which is in a wonderful manner thrown over her whole form, and made to consist with still remaining

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beauty. This it is clear was the great difficulty which the artist
had to encounter, and which few of the celebrated painters, in
treating of the same subject, seem duly to have considered ;
Canova has certainly overcome it; the traces of fastings and
vigils, of penances and mental agonies, are all, as they ought to
be, forcibly marked, but inherent beauty still remains, and,
wasted' as her form is, no portion of graceful contour seems to
have escaped. There is a little concetto in our authoress' ac-
count, but as we know it on the whole to be very faithful, and
as we have cited no specimen of her writing, we will give it.

“ Genuflessa, anzi sui propri talloni abbandonata, coi capelli
sparsi, e dalle lunghe vigilie, e dalle astinenze lunghe indebolita
spossata, con l'anima, tutta sugli occhi, e questi fisi tenendo ad
'una Croce, che sostiene con ambe le mani appoggiate sopra le
ginocchia, questa meravigliosa figura, mirabile sforzo d'una sublime
idea riunisce in sè ad un tratto il tempo passato, il presente, l'av,
venire ; ciò ch' ella fu, ciò ch' ella è, ciò ch'ella in breve sarà.
La sua passata bellezza tuttavia si manifesta nella purità dei bei
contorni del suo volto, che pur rimangono intatti, e nella somma régo-
larità delle ben scelte, ed armoniche sue proporsioni. Con le sue la-
grime cocentissime che bruciano gli occhi da cuì escono, e le gote
sopra cui cadono, col suo intenso dolore, che laæra l'anima, con la
funesta degradazione di tutto il suo individuo ella ci fa conoscere il
suo stato presente. L'avvenire finalmente nella vicina sua estin-
zione, poiche pare veramente, ch'ella sia vicina a spirare l'ultimo
soffio della sua misera vita, e che le manchi perfino quel raggio
di speme, che, lucido brilla in quei miseri istanti, ultimo, e miste-
rioso dono d'un Dio oltre ogni espressione demente." P. 84.

We shall conclude what we have to say with a semark or two on one of Canova's statues, to which we have before alluded, the Hebe. From the very nature of the subject, it bears no comparison with many other of his works, in point of grandeur op sublimity; but we think it by far the most beautiful and most pleasing. We know not that we ever saw any thing to compare with it for lightness and airiness of expression, with the exception of a Pomona among the antiques of the Florentine gallery, which is of much larger size, stepping forward on a foot that Cinderella herself might have envied. The Hebe of Canova is rather under the common size; she has no dress, or even ornament of any kind (excepting the frontlet commented on in a former part of this article) down to the waist, below which, a plain cincture collects, and sustains a slight drapery, and is then tied behind in a careless, but not inelegant knot. The drapery, which

little above the cincture, flounces over it in the most natural manner imaginable, and as the figure is in the attitude of one advancing, floats behind in a light fold or two, and gathers so tightly in front, as to have a transparent appearance. It 5


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reaches only to the knee, and the Goddess stands with one foot advanced on a gently swelling cloud. The right hand, raised on high, holds a golden urn, and the left a cup of the same metal; she seems in the act of pouring from one vessel into the other; and this circumstance, perhaps, affords the only ground of exception that we are aware of, to the conception of the statue. It will have occurred to our readers, that there is some inconsistency in this employment with the rapid motion which both her attitude and drapery imply. To this objection, we confess we have no answer ready; but in the contemplation of her beautiful form, of the composed cheerfulness of her expressive face, and in the general character of sprightly innocence, so congenial to her, whom the poetic and fanciful devotion of the Greeks worshipped as the Goddess of Youth, criticism is constrained to be silent.

Our Italian readers will not be displeased at the insertion of the following elegant compliment to Canova, addressed to the Hebe, by Ippolito Pindemonte, one of the most distinguished poets of modern Italy. He has published some translations from Homer and Virgil, and a tragedy Arminio of no common merit.

6 Dove per te, celeste ancella, or vassi,

Che di te l'aurea, eterna mensa or privi?
Come degni cangiar gli astri nativi

Con questi luoghi tenebrosi, e bassi ?
O Canova immortal, che indietro lassi

L'Italico scarpello, e il Greco arrivi,
Sapea, che i marmi tuoi son molli, e vivi,

Ma chi visto t'avea scolpite i passi ?
Spirar qui vento ogni pupilla erede,

E la gonna investir, che frettolosa

Si ripiega ondeggiando, e indietro riede.
E natura, onde legge ebbe ogni cosa,

Che pietra e moto in un congiunti vede,

Per un istante si riman pensosa." We trust we shall be excused for detaining our readers so long on a subject, which may almost seem foreign to the purpose of our labours; but the fine arts are among the appropriate ornainents of a great and tourishing empire, and we shall think that we have done 'some service, if we stimulate domestic talent, by turning its attention to foreign excellence. It is an unwise, as well as an illiberal patronage, which confines itself to the encouragement of native genius. There is no commerce, in which monopoly is of so fatal a tendency, as in that of the fine arts ,


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