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very best possible ; but of this I am certain, that he can give as satisfactory an account of the curiosities of Rome, as some people of my acquaintance who viewed them with equal sensibility, and at a great deal more leisure.
Those travellers who cannot remain a considerable time at Rome, would do well to get a judicious list of the most interesting objects in architecture, sculpture, and painting, that are to be seen here; they ought to visit these frequently, and these only, by which means they will acquire a strong and distinct impression of what they see ; instead of that transient and confused idea which a vast number of things, viewed superficially, and in a hurry, leave in the mind. After they have examined, with due åttention, the most magnificent and best-preserved remains of ancient architecture, very few have satisfaction in viewing a parcel of old bricks, which, they are told, formed the foundation of the baths of some of the emperors. And there are not many who would regret their not having seen great numbers of statues and pictures of inferior merit, when they had beheld all that are universally esteemed the best. Would it not be highly judicious, therefore, in the greatest number of travellers, without abridging the usual time of the course, to make it much less comprehensive ?
Besides churches, there are about thirty palaces in Rome, as full of pictures as the walls can bear. The Borghese palace alone is said to contain above sixteen hundred, all original. There are also ten or twelve villas in the neighbourhood of this city, which are usually visited by strangers. You may judge from this, what a task they undertake, who resolve to go through the whole; and what kind of an idea they are likely to carry away, who perform this task during the stay of a few months. Of the villas, the Pinciana, which belongs to the Borghese family, is the most remarkable. I shall confine
myself to a few cursory remarks on some of the most esteemed curiosities it contains. The Hermaphrodite, of which you have seen so many prints and models, is accounted by many, one of the finest pieces of sculpture in the world. The mattress, upon which this fine figure reclines, is the work of the cavalier Bernini, and nothing can be more admirably executed. Some critics say, he has performed his task too well, because the admiration of the spectator is divided between the statue and the mattress. This, however, ought not to be imputed as a fault to that great artist: since he condescended to make it at all, it was his business to make it as perfect as possible. I have heard of an artist at Versailles, in a different line, who attempted something of the same nature; he had exerted all his abilities in making a periwig for a celebrated preacher, who was to preach on a particular occasion before the court; and he imagined he had succeeded to a miracle.
I'll be hanged,' said he to one of his companions, if his majesty, or any man of taste, will pay much attention to the sermon to-day.'
Among the antiques, there is a Centaur in marble, with a Cupid mounted on his back. The latter has the cestus of Venus, and the ivy crown of Bacchus; in allusion to beauty and wine; he beats the Centaur with his fist, and seems to kick with violence to drive him along. The Centaur throws back his head and eyes with a look of remorse, as if he were unwilling, though forced, to proceed. The execution of this group is admired by those who look upon it merely as a jeu d'esprit; but it acquires additional merit, when considered as allegorical of men who are hurried on by the violence of their passions, and lament their own weakness, while they find themselves unable to resist.
There is another figure which claims attention, more on account of the allegory than the sculpture. This is a small statue of Venus Cloacina, trampling on an impregnated uterus, and tearing the wings of Cupid. The alles gory indicates, that prostitution is equally destructive of generation and love. Keysler mentioning this, calls it a statue of Venus, lamenting her rashness in clipping Cupid's wings.
The statue called Zingara, or the Fortune-teller, is antique, all but the head, which is Bernini's ; the face has a strong expression of that sly shrewdness, which belongs to those whose trade it is to impose on the credulity of the vulgar; with a great look of some modern gypsies I have seen, who have imposed most egregiously on the self-love and credulity of the great.
Seneca dying in the bath, in touchstone; round his middle is a girdle of yellow marble ; he stands in a basin of blueish marble lined with porphyry; his knees seem to bend under him, from weakness ; his features denote faint. ness; languor, and the approach of death ; the eyes are enamelled, which gives the countenance a fierce and disagreeable look. Colouring the eyes always has a bad effect in sculpture; they form too violent a contrast with the o. ther features, which remain of the natural colour of the marble. When the eyes are enamelled, it is requsite that all the face should be painted, to produce the agreeable harmony of life.
The Faun dandling an infant Bacchus, is one of the gayest figures that can be imagined.
In this villa, there are also some highly-esteemed pieces by Bernini. Æneas carrying his father ; David slinging the stone at Goliah ; and Apollo pursuing Daphne : the last is generally reckoned Bernini's masterpiece ; for my part, I have so bad a taste as to prefer the second. The figure of David is nervous, with great anatomical justness, and a strong expression of keenness and exertion to hit his mark, and kill his enemy; but the countenance of David wants dignity. An antique artist, perhaps, could not have given more ardour, but he would have given more nobleness to the features of David. Some may say, that as he was but a shepherd, it was proper he should have the look of a clown ; but it ought to be remembered, that David was a very extraordinary man ; and if the art ist who formed the Belvedere Apollo, or if Agasias the Ephesian had treated the same subject, I imagine they would have rendered their work more interesting, by blend
ing the noble air of an hero with the simple appearance of a shepherd. The figures of Apollo and Daphne are in a different manner. The face and figure of Apollo are deficient in simplicity; the noble simplicity of the best antique statues : he runs with affected graces, and his astonishment at the beginning transformation of his mistress is not, in my opinion, naturally expressed, but seems rather the exaggerated astonishment of an actor. The form and shape of Daphne are delicately executed; but in her face, beauty is, in some degree, sacrificed to the expression of terror; her features are too much distorted by fear, An antique artist would have made her less afraid, that she might have been more beautiful. In expressing terror, pain, and other impressions, there is a point where the beauty of the finest countenance ends, and deformity begins. I am indebted to Mr. Lock for this observation. In some conversations I had with him at Cologny, on the subject of sculpture, that gentleman remarked, that it was in the skilful and temperate exertion of her powers, in this noblest province of the art, expression, that ancient sculpture so much excelled the modern. She knew its limits, and had ascertained them with precision. As far as expression would go hand in hand with grace and beauty, in subjects intended to excite sympathy, she in, dulged her chisel; but where agony threatened to induce distortion, and obliterate beauty, she wisely set bounds to imitation, remembering, that though it may be moral to pity ugliness in distress, it is more natural to pity beauty in the same situation ; and that her business was not to give the strongest representation of nature, but the representation which would interest us most. That ingenious gentleman, I remember, observed at the same time, that the Greek artists have been accused of having sacrificed character too much to technical proportion. He continued to observe, that what is usually called charac, ter in a face, is probably excess in some of its parts, and particularly of those which are under the influence of the mind, the leading passion of which marks some feature
for its own. A perfectly symmetrical face bears no mark of the influence of either the passions or the understanding, and reminds you of Prometheus's clay without his fire. On the other hand, the moderns, by sacrificing too liberally those technical proportions, which, when religiously. observed, produce beauty, to expression, have generally lost the very point which they contended for. They seemed to think, that when a passion was to be expressed, it could not be expressed too strongly; and that sympathy always followed in an exact proportion with the strength of the passion, and the force of its expression. But passions, in their extreme, instead of producing sympathy, generally excite feelings diametrically opposite. A vehement and clamorous demand of pity is received with neglect, and sometimes with disgust; whilst a patient and silent acquiescence under the pressure of mental af, fliction, or severe bodily pain, finds every heart upon an unison with its sufferings. The ancients knew to what extent expression may be carried, with good effect. The author of the famous Laocoon, in the Vatican, knew where to stop, and if the figure had been alone, it would have been perfect; there is exquisite anguish in the countenance, but it is borne in silence, and without distortion of features. Puget thought he could go beyond the author of Laocoon ; he gave voice to his Milo; he made him roaring with pain, and lost the sympathy of the spectator. In confirmation of this doctrine, Mr, Lock desired, that when I should arrive at Rome, I would examine, with attention, the celebrated statue of Niobe, in the villa de Medici, I have done so again and again, and find his remarks most strikingly just, The author of the Niobe has had the judgment not to exhibit all the distress which he might have placed in her coun
This consummate artist was afraid of disturb. ing her features too much, knowing full well, that the point where he was to expect the most sympathy was there, where distress co-operated with beauty, and where our pity met our love. Had he sought it one step farther,