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1840, he corrected the penultimate sheet of his book, and on the same day his spirit passed away, amid the regrets of a few attached friends, who mourned the loss of the man, and of a work of such promise as his history of Italian art must have been. To borrow the words of one of these, who superintended the completion of his Carteggio, he sleeps in that classic soil which he loved so fondly, under the shade of its cypresses, and in view of the smiling slopes of Fiesole.'


These volumes, although far from exhausting the materials amassed by Gaye, contain above a thousand documents, in some seventeen hundred goodly octavo pages. Nearly all of these have been copied from the archives and libraries at Florence, Sienna, and other towns of central Italy; they consist chiefly of letters, wills, and magisterial acts, and they are illustrated by copious facsimiles and interesting autographs. So varied and comprehensive are their contents, that abundant and valuable lights are thrown by them upon the history, policy, statistics, and domestic manners of the country, as well as upon the subject more immediately in view. In these respects the statutes of various guild corporations are especially important, and still more so the article entitled, Regesta, or Florentine Acts regarding the Internal History of that Republic, from 1225 to 1500.' This single item affords matter for a volume, in the multitude of extracts and jottings chronologically selected from the public records of that city; and the design which the compiler had in view was, "to supply in some measure the meagreness of other notices during the fourteenth century, and to afford an idea of the fine spirit which inspired that Commonwealth, and of the vast efforts which she made between the years 1200 and 1500, especially in her buildings, painting, and sculpture."


With manifold evidence of such exertions almost every page of these extracts abounds. Most of the entries during the thirteenth century refer to expensive operations on the streets, squares, churches, bridges, aqueducts, fountains, walls, and fortifications, and among them it is easy to recognise those mighty constructions which still form the noblest and most characteristic features of the Tuscan capital-the gloomy Bargello, the massive Or-san-Michele, the stern Palazzo-Vecchio, the vast Duomo, the elegant Baptistery. These were all creations of one master-mind, to whose merits we here find a pleasing testimony. In 1300, upon the report that "Maestro Arnolfo (Lapo) di Cambio of Colle, head master of works for Santa Reparata, the principal church in the city, was the most famous artist, and the most expert in ecclesiastical architecture of any known in these parts, and that, by means of his industry, experience, and genius, the inhabitants trusted to the fabric

The Church of Santa Reparata or the Duomo.

begun by him turning out the most beautiful and distinguished fane in all Tuscany," several important immunities were voted him by the magistracy. This church, a century later, was called Santa Maria del Fiore, and is now the Duomo. It would have been satisfactory to have quoted, from the original, a noble act for its creation, which has been often printed, and which the reader may readily find in Vallery's 'Italy;' but whether genuine or supposititious it exists not in the record. Gaye, however, supplies us with interesting evidence of the public zeal for the fabric, and the citizens, in supplement to large grants from the common fund, submitted to a poll-tax, levied with reference to means and substance, and to another impost which may be regarded as the precursor of legacy duties. All testators were enjoined to bequeath something in aid of the work, under pain of their testaments being annulled; but, to reconcile them to so singular an extortion, the bishop was recommended to grant to such persons an extension of the ecclesiastical indulgences already promised to benefactors of the pious enterprise.

During a hundred and seventy years the magnificent edifice rose, by these magnanimous exertions, under the direction of many celebrated architects; the commission given to the greatest of them all runs in these terms:


"The Lords Priors of Arts, the Gonfaloniere of Justice, and the committee (officium) of twelve good men, desiring that the operations carried on in the city for the community of Florence should proceed reputably and decorously, which cannot well be the case unless some person of experience and note be placed in charge of them, and seeing that there is said to be no one in the world more capable for such employment than Maestro Giotto di Bondone, the painter of Florence, who is regarded in his native place as both a great artist and an estimable man, and whom it is desirable to have constantly resident there at once for the instruction of others and for the honour of the city They for these reasons resolved by ballot, that the said M. Giotto be elected and deputed as director and master of works for the church of Santa Reparata, and for the erection of the city walls and fortifications, as well as for any other public operations that may be undertaken.'” Vol. i. p. 481.


This act is dated in April, 1334; the salary assigned for these services is stated by Ticozzi at a hundred ducats, a sum equal to seven hundred pounds of our money. Among the contributions of Giotto to the cathedral, it is scarcely necessary to mention the Campanile, whose beauty has passed into a proverb, and whose minute elegance Charles V. wished to protect from contact by glass! Just a century later, the committee of works wrote to summon from Scotland, for the windows, a celebrated worker in stained glass, who


seems to have been an Italian by birth, and who had learned the art at Lubeck-Vol. ii., p. 445.

It would be easy to multiply proofs of the public spirit of this community. In the thirteenth century the city had fifteen gates, and the same number of bridges as now serves for a much larger population; about 1340 two of these were rebuilt, and a fifth was ordered farther up the stream. The police regulations afford some curious insight into manners and civilization. In the public prison men were separated from women, debtors from criminals, and a place was provided for the confinement of unruly youths, at the instance of their parents: this was probably at the Bargello, the Stinche being mentioned as a prison for persons of rank. Dyers were enjoined to carry off all foul water under ground. No houses of bad fame were allowed in the city, or under the walls, or along the highways; and contraveners were to be whipped and branded. Chess and drafts might be played in the streets, but no hazard or gambling tables were permitted even in private houses. No one might go out at night without a light, nor could any citizen who had a notorious feud attend public or private assemblages without leave from the magistrates. In 1289 we find a strict injunction against the purchase of peasantry as serfs. Cannons and metal balls were ordered for the defence of the city as early as 1326, at least twenty years before the date generally assigned to their in



The first notice we find of the Medici, in connexion with art, is in 1476, when Lorenzo and his brother transferred to the public, for 150 florins (then equal to perhaps 3501.), the bronze David of Donatello, which was thereupon placed in the PalazzoVecchio, near the enemy's chains," meaning the Pisan trophies, which now hang before the Baptistery door. The embellishment of that Palazzo was a favourite object; the earliest regulation as to which is characteristic of the democratic spirit of the republic; it bears date in 1329, and prohibits any one from placing his own arms or device among the decorations, but in 1461, the sons of Poggio Bracciolini were permitted to have his portrait painted in one of the smaller halls. The earliest frescoes remaining there are those ordered in 1482, from Domenico Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi, the latter of whom was employed three years later to execute for the council-hall an altar-piece of the nativity, at the price of twelve hundred lire, besides five hundred for the carved frame-work, and a hundred and sixty-three more for gilding it. Gaye has recognised this work in a beautiful picture at the Uffizii gallery, where it is attributed to Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Among the extracts are many valuable traits regarding the




history and political constitution of the republic, upon which we have at present no space to enter. We must, however, pause for a moment on some notices of the all-Etruscan three.' In December, 1368, Urban V. wrote to the priors that he had received their ambassador Giovanni Boccaccio with the consideration due to them and to his own merits. Three years before this, having occasion to send an envoy to Avignon, the seigneury desired him to deliver to the same pontiff this message:

"The celebrity and talents of our fellow-citizen M. Francesco Petrarca inspire us with a great desire to attract him back to reside in Florence, for the honour of the city and for his own tranquillity; for he has greatly harassed himself by bodily fatigues and scientific pursuits in various countries. But as he has here no patrimony nor means of support, and little fancy for a secular life, be pleased to grant him the favour of the first canonry vacant in Florence; and this notwithstanding any previous promise, so that no one may be appointed canon in preference to him. And you will ascertain from Pitti in what manner this appointment may be obtained for him in the most ample manner.""-p. 515.

As to Dante, the only contemporary entry is an indirect one. On the 6th of March, 1303, a subsidy was voted to Charles of Anjou, to aid him in reducing his Sicilian rebels; on the margin a somewhat later hand has noted that the poet's opposition to this grant formed one of the charges upon which he was exiled. But when his

Name for evermore

Their children's children would in vain adore,
With the remorse of ages,

we find this tardy tribute to the immortal bard: "12th of August, 1373. On the part of many citizens of Florence,-who, for themselves and others, and for their posterity and descendants, desire to be instructed in virtue from the book of Dante, wherein even such as are unskilled in grammar may learn how to escape vice, as well as how to acquire virtue, and adorn themselves with eloquence,-it is respectfully prayed that you, the lords priors, &c., will select an able and learned person, well versed in the study of such poetry, to prelect in this city upon the book generally called the Dante, to all who choose to attend; and this daily, excepting the usual holidays, during such time as may seem right, not above one year, and for a salary not exceeding a hundred florins of gold, payable half-yearly." [p. 525.]

In succeeding years various lecturers are named: thus Giovanni di Malpaghini of Ravenna, after considerable services, had, in 1412, eight florins a month, at which time Dante was publicly read on holidays. Six years after, the expositor of the poet was

Giovanni Gherardi of Pistoia, with six florins a month; and in 1432, Francesco Filelfo, who held the appointment, was sentenced to three years of exile at Rome, for publicly insulting the Venetian seigneury and their ambassador. In 1495, the great grandson of Dante, who bore his name, had an act of rehabilitation from banishment.

But the Carteggio contains a yet more weighty testimony to the repentance of his countrymen, in the application made by the seigneury to Ostazio di Polenta, the last lord of Ravenna, for the bones of the bard, wherein

'Florence vainly begs her banished dead and weeps.'

"Magnificent lord and well-beloved friend,

"That we and all our people entertain a singular love and predominating affection for the famous and unfading name of Dante Alighieri, the excellent and most renowned poet, cannot astonish you or any one else. For such is the glory of that man, that it undoubtedly reflects his brilliancy upon our state, whilst the blaze of his genius illuminates his native land. For who has heretofore enjoyed a name so celebrated, so undying, as our poet's now is, and so far as we can conjecture, will continue to be? His writings are composed with an elegance which it would be difficult to conceive excelled: their wisdom and learning, their copiousness and variety, are alike fitted to delight the simple, to teach the most accomplished, to guide and instruct all. But suspending eulogies, more beseeming a prolix volume than a brief epistle, let us come to the matter in hand.

"It was long since resolved by this government, that the tombs of those illustrious poets, Dante Alighieri and Francesco Petrarca, should be erected in this their native city with becoming magnificence, and we have now ordained that this object, hitherto postponed, but so commendable and praiseworthy, should be carried into effect. Since then their remains are, by the decree of their country, to be carried hither, and entombed in these monuments, and since the bones and dust of Dante lie in your city of Ravenna, we most affectionately request your highness not to throw any difficulties in the way of their being given up, but so to favour us and this our desire, that we may be enabled to transfer them to Florence with befitting respect. And we trust that it will not be irksome to your highness to meet our wishes in this matter.

"Given at Florence, this 1st of February, 1429—30.”—Vol. i., p. 123.

The decree above referred to is printed for the first time by Gaye. It is dated in 1396, and enjoins the committee of the Duomo to erect there, within six years, under a penalty of a thousand florins, splendid and honourable tombs, suitable to their merit and renown, for the poets Dante, Petrarch, Zenobio di Strata and Boccaccio, and for the jurist Accursio, after transporting thither their bones, if these could be recovered, but at all events to exe

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