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the antique. He looked up to the splendid monuments of taste which have immortalized the purest eras of Greek and Roman sculpture, as the great fountain of light from whence the modern world of art iş to derive its perfection. He was sensible that those animated marbles, however different in age, sex, and character, derive their superior excellence from one comprehensive principle. He struggled to grasp the elevated idea, which, with exquisite conformity, cast the gigantic bulk of the Farnesian Hercules, and moulded the delicate proportions of the Venus of Medicis. The lofty symbol, which displays the utmost limits of virile power and the matchless epitome of female loveliness, were not the result of cold laborious measurements. Nor were they produced by pedantic attempts to fix a general standard of uniformity. Bartolozzi beheld in them that admirable selection and rare union of parts which, on whatever scale the figure rises, is essential to the symmetry of a perfect whole. By the light of this polar truth his mind rapidly expanded. He learned to correct blemishes in the living outline; to look beyond individual man, as he found him, debased in form and feature, by moral and physical evils, to man, the great origin and standard of the species, fresh from the hands of his creator,
* Erect and high, a fair proportion'd form,
Whose port sublime a god-like grace display'd,
Whose eye undaunted, brav'd the thunder storm. Cold is that breast, torpid are those feelings, feeble is that conception, which can only find pleasure in some isolated pursuit of genius or particular school of art. The fine imagination, whose eagle flight spurns the range of existing nature to soar into worlds of its own creation, cannot limit its enthusiasm to a single system, Bartolozzi felt the powerful analogy between poetry, painting, and sculpture. In intervals of relaxation, he cultivated the belles lettres with avidity. Homer and Virgil, with Dante, Tasso, Ariosto, and the best moderns, united to fertilize and elevate his fancy, naturally warın and genial. His cotemporaries, with astonishment, beheld the rich harvest of his labours. By comparing the finest models, by assiduous practice, by uniting persevering energy with judicious and solid reflections, he
* From this Author's Manuscript Poems.
acquired truth and facility of execution, freedom and correctness of design, a mature judgment, animated perceptions of grace, loveliness, and beauty, and at an early age, that pure classic taste which, like an intuitive faculty, ennobled every thing he touched, and will render his works, to the highest degree, precious, in the eyes of the latest posterity.
With such distinguished practical powers as a designer and engraver, in the prime of his life, Bartolozzi quitted the shores of Italy for those of England. His reputation had preceded him. Every lover of the Arts, every cultivated mind was prepared to rejoice on his arrival. The Royal Academy enlarged the sphere of its own honours hy enrolling him among its members. The ablest Painters sought to establish a more general reputation with the public, and to descend, with additional claims, to pos, terity, by procuring prints to be engraved by him, from their most successful pictures. He at once found a lie beral encouragement for his talents. He obtained his own price for whatever he undertook. A crowd of pun pils hastened to receive his lessons. They hoped to acquire, if not sonne emanation from his genius, at least the profitable name of having formed themselves under so celebrated a Master.—Not only the young men who en joyed the felicity of studying under his roof, but those who
were employed by him elsewhere, and the whole body of English engravers, looked up to his works as an ima mutable standard. Ingenious foreigners resorted to England to imbibe his instructions. Travellers of dis tinction deemed it an honour to be introduced to him. He was courted by almost every literary and eminent character in the nation. In this enviable circle, beloved and respected by his pupils and the public, he gradually formed that memorable school of engraving, whose works excited the applause and imitation of Europe, threw a lustre upon that Augustan era of British Arts, the decline of the seventeenth Century, and opened new speçulations to British Commerce as a lucrative export to distant regions.
Froin a survey of the course of his studies as a Drafts. man and Designer, and a brief notice of the career of his labours, his style as an engraver becomes the subject of consideration. It is easy to get rid of the task of investigation by general terms of praise or censure, The words fine, excellent, admirable, -bad, wretched, and execrable, certainly possess a powerful significance. Yet it requires but small mental resources to grace them with the utmost emphasis of fluent delivery. A liberal spirit, in rendering homage to exalted talents, disdains to acquit itself by so unworthy a subterfuge. The analysis necessary to mark distinctly the characteristics of extraordinary merit, is undoubtedly attended with difficulty: But that difficulty is lessened by a love for the subject, and it is forgotten in the hope of interesting an indolent and luxurious public in behalf of the arts, which, with the artist, are the object of impartial discussion.'
Breadth, mellowness, harmony, and correctness, constitute the great principle of Bartolozzi's style. To this principle every thing is subservient, whether his mode of handling be finished stroke-engraving, or stipling, or etching with the fire of a painter, or an union of these with aquatinta. By it, his portraits, his single figures, his groups, his landscapes, his grand historical prints, all are enriched and elevated. Simplicity of execution appeared to him the fittest means to obtain his end. He never falls into the error of breaking general effect by the ostentation of a contrasted direction and crossing of stroke on each particular object. Among other able artists, the celebrated Edelink of the old French School, and Wule, the most famous of the modern engravers, for beautiful manual dexterity, were not satisfied with having introduced the latter practice with propriety, in their prints from the high-finished works of Gerard Douw, Mieris, Netscher, Terburgh, and other Flemish painters: They injudiciously employed it in many of their fine historical engravings after the great Italian masters. Their several stuffs, silks, satins,
metals, glass, and other substances, are so laboriously identified, as each to attract the eye, by a petty effect, at the expence of the principal parts of the composition. On the contrary, Bartolozzi, in the true spirit of an historical painter, rejects all petty identification. He only marks each subordinate object by its general character of light, shadow, form, and density. Yet the folds of his Drapery are learned and noble; and they possess an unequalled flow and majesty of determination. His trees, water, buildings, clouds, and every part of his backgrounds, are etched and finished with surprising lightness and vivacity. He intermixes etching and engraving so admirably, as to retain the freedom of the one without its roughness, and the commanding firmness of the other
without its dryness. Although no artist ever possessed greater facility, sweetness, or spirit, of graver and point, yet he, at all times, rises superior to the mechanical pride of elaborate tooling. His stroke, on whatever it is employed, or however diversified, invariably meits into bold, effective masses.
He leaves no busy details: nothing spotty or glaring: no affected oppositions: no part obscured or suppressed, because misunderstood or inaccessible to his power. The profound intelligence and the masterhand are every where visible. His lights are warm and rich; his shadows ample and forcible, yet free from that blackness which is not to be seen in nature, but which so many mistake for strength of effect. Every part rests in grand subordination. Every object is chastened by an enchanting sobriety of tone; and a charming union of spirit and softness, of lustre and repose, forms an harmonious spell in his style, and a proud superiority in his productions.
But it is in the most difficult parts of his art, and where the ablest engravers have failed, that Bartolozzi displays his greatest powers His exquisite drawing of the naked, can only be equalled by the tenderness of his flesh and the perfect relief of his forms. The critical eye knows not which most to admire, the unbounded extent of his knowledge, his fine choice, or the unerring certainty with which he determines every part of the extremities of his figures. In this respect, Raphael's en graver, Mirk Antonio Raimondi, in his best prints, Neptune rebuking the winds, and the loves of Cupid and Psyche; with Mark and Silvester of Ravenna, and all the disciples who form the glory of Raimondi's school, are confessedly inferior. Æneus Vico of Parma, and the esteemed family of the Ghisi of Mantua, although possessed of extraordinary merits, are alike unequal in this prime essential. But it is not these very early artists alone who rank subordinate to him. The most eminent of those men who, from their high powers in the twin arts may be justly denoininated Painter-engravers, are each more or less beneath him. Cherubino Alberti, immortalized by his precious friezes after the sublime compositions of Polidore Carravaggio, and by his works after Michael Angelo, Francesco Villamena of Assisi, whose presentation in the temple froin Paola Veronese, and St. Francis in extacy, from Baroccio, hold so high a reputation in every classic collection; Cornelius Cort, distian
guished by his School of Art, from his own design, by his fine historical prints from Julio Romano, Titian and Jerome Mutian, and by his capital work, the Transfiguration from Raphael ; all of those eminent engravers, although able painters and designers, so highly esteemed for the truth, boldness, and beauty of their works, fall far below Bartolozzi in their drawing of the naked figure. Of all his numerous predecessors and cotemporaries, Agostino Carrache the celebrated disciple of Cornelius Cort, and the brother and rival of the illustrious Annie bale, is alone worthy of being classed with Bartolozzi in this superior excellence. The hands, feet, and muscular details in Agostino's historical prints, are marked with all the fire and precision of an able painter. The heads of his men are equally noble and spirited. His admirable print of the filial piety of Æneas, from Baroccio; his St. Jerome from Tintoret, and his Martyrdom and Apo-, theosis of St. Justina, from Paolo Veronese, are rare examples of his extraordinary skill.-His fore-shortenings are perfectly understood and happily executed. His outline is grand. His forms correct and masterly ; but his females are deficient in delicacy. His draperies are slighted. His general effect and keeping are not attended to, and he wants the fascinating breadth of tint and cmbodied roundness of Bartolozzi's figures.
On a view of his best works, Giacomo Frey, deservedly esteemed the ablest finished engraver of the Italian school, approaches nearest altogether to the style of Bartolozzi. He seems to have worked upon the same general principles. His drawing was masterly. He understood the antique, and designed ably. Like Bartolozzi, he grew up among the most celebrated works of art. His cotemporaries, the disciples of Bloemart, Spierre, and Poilly, executed their prints in a cold, dry, insipid manner, with the graver only. Frey, in avoiding their monotonous effect, appears to have gone rather too far in laying in and nearly finishing all of his masses with crossings of the etching point. It is certain that there is a superior sprightliness and freedom produced by the etching point, but care must be taken to leave sufficient room for the sweetening touches of the graver in finishing. He generally etched rough, long dots upon the middle tints and local colours of his flesh, and upon the high lights of his draperies, skies, and other objects. This mode took away considerably from the delicacy and sweetness of