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Mignon and War.
oaks would shade your grave; say, were it not better than to be obliged, ere long, to give over her delicate frame to the anatomical hands of the abbé, for him to drop into it an ingenious preparation of wax?""
With 1810, the correspondence terminates, probably in consequence of her marriage; but she does not give any explanation, and we adhere to our resolution of knowing nothing of her except from herself. Those who have been told that her passion led to melancholy and misery, may be relieved by one of the latest glimpses we find of her, on a visit to her brother Christian at Bukowan, a country house in Bohemia. She says that she likes being with her brother, who is a universal contriving genius, and keeps her in constant employment. Whether he is working as carpenter, mason, or blacksmith, she is his journeyman, and holds the rule or blows the bellows, in addition to having all the sewing and cutting out, when his ingenuity is exercised on softer materials. He is a poet too, and has written a comedy 'for mouth and heart to laugh at,' and then he plays the flute, and composes melodies which all Prague is singing.
"He teaches me to ride too, and manage a horse like a man; he makes me ride without a saddle, and wonders that I can keep my seat at a gallop. The horse would not let me fall, he bites my foot in play and to give me courage; perhaps he is an enchanted prince in love with me. Fencing too Christian teaches me with the left hand and with the right, and to shoot at a mark, at a great sunflower; all of which I learn with zeal, that my life may not be too absurd when war comes on again. This evening we were out shooting, and shot some butterflies. I killed two at one shot."
We hope that the specimens which we have just given, will lead some readers to search these volumes for the various treasures which they contain; and, in the meantime, at least to suspend the duty of moral disapprobation, which is of all duties the most scrupulously discharged. It may be true that few of them would wish to see similar danger incurred by a sister or a daughter; but to the majority of them she is not sister or daughter, and if she has had suffering, it is no reason for our adding censure. The opinion of the world, founded in this respect on the nature of things, has confined warm feelings within a few deep and definite channels, which alone it recognises or protects. Beyond the love of lovers, and the affection which is strengthened by the ties of blood, any strong and enthusiastic attachment is likely to lead to disappointment from the uncertainty of a return, and from the absence of general sympathy which reacts on almost all individuals. But if a person undergoes the risk and bears the pain, we can see no ground for resentment on the part of the prudent, who have avoided the
danger; and if a woman of genius has expressed in a beautiful form, her imaginative passion, the desire of the moth for the star,' we, at least, are willing to admire her and sympathise with her, while we recommend no one to follow her example.
If, however, notwithstanding our arguments, her sex is resolved to tolerate no deviation from the prescribed track of feeling, we feel it our duty to submit to those who are most especially scandalised by Bettina's writings, the practice of classical times in similar cases. Disapproving as we do of measures so strong, and scrupulously abstaining from recommending them, we cannot forget that it was on themselves, according to the authentic statement of Aristophanes, that the ladies of Athens vented their indignation at the shock which their moral sense had sustained from the eccentric heroines of Euripides, whom Eschylus reproaches, ὅτι γενναίας καὶ γενναίων ἄνδρων ἀλύχους ἀνέπεισας
κώνεια πιεῖν ἀισχυνθείσας διὰ τοὺς σοὺς Βελλεροφόντας.
which may be freely translated,
Because you have made honest gentlemen's wives, and respectable ladies determine,
To drink prussic acid in horror and shame, at a girl so outrageously German.
ART. IV.-Carteggio inedito d'Artisti dei Secoli XIV. XV. XVI., publicato, ed illustrato con documenti pure inediti, dal DOTTORE GIOVANNI GAYE; con fac-simile. Tomi tre, 8vo. Firenze, presso Giuseppe Molini. 1839-40.
THE literature of Italy has, during some generations, been singularly fertile in local history and memoirs. The number of places conspicuous in history, the frequency of antiquarian remains, the abundance of names well known in arts and arms, in letters and politics, have there naturally conduced to a result which other circumstances have favoured. Nationality in its proper sense being unknown, the patriotism of the people is concentrated upon their birth-place, and glows with a delusive brilliancy more apt to exaggerate than to define the objects which it lights up. The passion for authorship inherent in the national character has found an easy and safe outlet in numerous topographical works, on which Church and State can look without jealousy, and which can generally command a ready imprimatur. The results have been little beneficial to literature, for such
Fusions are more distinguished by verbosity than eloquence, by
Recent Contributions to the History of Art.
prolixity than absorbing interest. Yet the prevailing pursuit has not been without its fruits. Patient research has discovered and rendered accessible important historical muniments, as well as minute details of manners, from which the general historian and investigator of local objects find an ample harvest of materials and facts awaiting their judicious and impartial application. Of this nature are the multifarious pamphlets of Olivieri, Passeri, and Padre della Valle in the last century; of Cancellieri, Fea, and Vermiglioli, in the present; and there is scarcely a spot too insignificant or secluded for the pen of some kindred illustrator.
Into such inquiries the fine arts enter largely in a land ever favourable to their growth, and upon them is lavished much of the pride which mainly conduces to that sort of authorship. Nowa-days in particular, elaborate researches among musty records, such as were formerly undertaken to maintain some idle controversy of traditional origin, of imaginary independence, or of vaunted supremacy, are more profitably directed to illustrate schools of painting and artists of other times. To these accordingly we are indebted for the life of Pinturicchio by Vermiglioli, for the biographical eulogies by Abbé Pungileone of Raffaelle, Correggio, and other painters less known, and for the history of art in the March of Ancona by the Marchese Ricci, works displaying more industry than critical judgment.
Nor has the literature of the north been altogether indifferent to these subjects. In England, Duppa and Roscoe have shown what could be done under the most unfavourable circumstances; and now that high art is at length beginning to occupy public interest, we may look forward to better things, and may cheer on those labourers who have already begun to occupy the field. France may adduce without a blush the names of Quatremere de Quincy, Rio, Orloff, and even Viardot; but most of these have chosen the esthetics rather than the history of Italian art, and have sought to reproduce known facts rather than to seek out new ones. The late German writers have united both these objects. with great success. It is enough to name Rechberg and Späth, Blattner and Rumohr, Waagen and Passavant; to whom we may add by anticipation Schultz of Dresden, whose collections for the hitherto unwritten history of the Neapolitan schools of painting will, we trust, ere long be published. But we must now speak of one whom premature death has prevented from attaining an at least equal reputation.
Hans Gaye was born in the duchy of Sleswick about the end. of 1804, and was educated at the universities of Kiel and Berlin, from the former of which he received his degree in philosophy upon completing his twenty-fifth year. With literature as his
profession, and a decided predilection for that of southern languages, he directed his steps towards the Mediterranean in 1830, and after a short visit to Greece, passed the remaining nine years of his life in Italy. In that land of past and present beauty, his active mind and refined taste found a new and never-failing source of intellectual exertion and pleasurable emotion. The state of the fine arts during long ages of torpor and neglect, followed by their slow revival under strong devotional influences, until they became part and portion of the popular religion, and until, commanding the lavish patronage of Church and State, of corporations and individuals, they developed the genius of Raffaelle and the vigour of Michael Angelo: such was the extensive theme which occupied his admiration and his thoughts, until he resolved to be its historian. But unlike his predecessors in the same path, he was not satisfied merely to recast the facts and criticisms of others. With the indomitable resolution and unflinching honesty of the Teutonic mind, he resolved to search everywhere and see every thing for himself. His object was to ransack the public and monastic libraries, to explore the archives of states, cities, and private families, and there to cull, from neglected or unknown manuscripts and correspondence, documents illustrative of every school, its patrons, its workmen, and its works. After storing his note-books with references from these sources, and from the innumerable volumes of Italian topography, he set forth on a comprehensive tour of the Peninsula.
The tour of Italy is usually understood to mean a journey along the great post roads, without farther pause than is required for horses and repose, together with a residence of some weeks in the great capitals, and of some days in the minor ones. But those who would become acquainted with that noble country and its inexhaustible charms-with its sublime scenery, its sequestered valleys, its antique memorials, its historic castles, its picturesque architecture, or the monuments of its golden age-such travellers must, like Gaye, follow another plan. He successively visited and leisurely surveyed all the provincial towns, examining dingy altarpieces and half-defaced frescoes, prying into sacristies and cloisters, and taxing to the utmost the unfailing and disinterested civility with which provincial Italians are ever ready to promote the researches of strangers into the antiquities of their neighbourhood. Diverging from these centre points, he investigated every village to which rumour or tradition assigned some object of curiosity, and examined alike the stately monastery and the lone oratory, which dated from the days when great painters were not ashamed to labour for rustic worshippers. Those who have never essayed this pursuit can scarcely appreciate the difficulties that attend it,
the privations of comfort, the obstacles to correct information, and the disappointment of often finding that an object for which fatigue has been incurred and time wasted is already lost or destroyed. But to the enthusiastic connoisseur such mortifications are amply compensated by the pleasure of gazing in some secluded abbey upon frescoes from which Raffaelle might have drawn inspiration, or of discovering in some mountain village-church an undescribed picture worthy of the Vatican or the Louvre. Thus did Gaye perambulate the peninsula, repeating his visits to such districts as Tuscany and Umbria, where the best works of medieval art were produced, and are still found in comparative abundance.
To one so constituted and so occupied, Florence offered a most attractive residence. In no other city did artists occupy so prominent a position from their numbers, their merit, and the scope afforded for their exertions; in none have the authorities done so much to encourage high art, and to preserve its productions from degradation. Although more harassed by domestic factions than the other capitals, Venice has suffered less than any of them from foreign invasion. Thus its libraries and archives, as well as its creations of the pencil and the chisel, are singularly entire, and under a government comparatively liberal and enlightened, the student enjoys literary facilities elsewhere unknown within the Alps. Nor is this artistic wealth confined within the city walls. There is scarcely a hamlet or a chapel in the Val d'Arno, from the fastnesses of La Vernia to the plains of Pisa, in which an inquisitive eye may not recognise some memorial of the fifteenth or sixteenth century. In Florence therefore did Gaye fix his headquarters after 1834, and to the high honour of the grand duke, not only was every archive opened to his investigations, but the heavy fees required for extracts were voluntarily defrayed from the privy purse of the sovereign, a liberality the more laudable, from the little sympathy between Gaye's studies and the tastes of his Imperial Highness. These researches were pursued with such ardour that, notwithstanding many excursions into other fields of similar labour, he had, in 1839, exhausted the materials thus freely placed at his disposal. But ere he returned home, for the purpose of digesting them and his personal observations into the great work which he had undertaken, he resolved, in return for the civilities he had received in Italy, to leave behind him some fruits of his toil, which, although immature, should be capable of useful adaptation. Thus originated the volumes named at the head of this article: but alas! the life of combined hardship and study, which he had for some years been leading, proved too severe a strain upon his constitution, and the seeds of consumption, at first neglected, made fatal progress in the trying climate of Florence. On the 26th of August,