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wholly uninformed as to the complexity of conditions necessary to produce a photograph, it took possession of the public mind so completely that, at a recent coroner's inquest in this city, a scientific expert was asked by the coroner to make oath that, at the post-mortem examination, no image could be detected in the eye of the victim !
The myth was equally prevalent in England ; and it is not three years since English journals of first standing gravely printed the marvel that, a photograph of the eye of a murdered person having been taken, the image of the murderer was visible, under a powerful microscope in the eyes of the photograph. The fact was extensively quoted as proof of the myth; but again the tragedy of strangling a beautiful myth with the noose of a fact, was enacted; and it was proved that, in taking a photograph, the image of the photographer is always reflected in the eye of the subject; that this image may be photographed, and, under favorable circumstances, might become visible under the glass; again, that, in a living person, owing to the convexity of the cornea, the image must be exceedingly small, but that, in the flattened cornea of the eye of a dead person, it must necessarily be considerably larger. Yet again, it has been proved by observation that irregular reflections occasionally appear in the partially collapsed cornea of a corpse; and it might well happen that, in some instances, they have resembled a man quite by accident. A superstition, very natural, under the circumstances, would identify this vaguely anthropomorphic reflection with the person of the supposed murderer.
Very recently the marvel went the round of the papers, that a tragedy had been photographed on a pane of glass; and the fact that the spy-glasses of the surveyor very frequently present simulations of leaves and twigs apparently on the object-glass, was quoted as evidence of the probability of the new marvel. In the instance of the spy-glass the explanation is very simple. The object-glass of the instrument consists of two glasses--one flint and the other crown-cemented together with Canada balsam. When the glasses get loose, as they often will, they separate a little, and the air penetrates the
balsam in all directions, causing an appearance of leaves, twigs, or other fanciful forms between the glasses. Operaglasses are more liable than field-glasses to exhibit these leaflike simulacra ; and the remedy is to take them to pieces, clean the glasses, and insert a new layer of balsam. Thus, the proof failing, the myth went to the wall, and was pinned there with the bare bodkin of a keen-pointed fact.
In some parts of New England, a myth somewhat similar to that of the Arab ghoul, the German Elfe-maid, and the Hungarian vampire, has been developed in the prevalence of tuberculosis or quick consumption, by which whole families are often taken off, inember after member, in singularly regular succession. The myth is that the heart of the consumptive lives on after burial, feeding by some strange metempsycose upon the vitality of a living brother or sister, who begins to waste next; and instances have occurred in which bodies have been exhumed and the hearts burned, by way of saving the living from the voracity of the dead. In certain portions of New England, also, the fiction that cats are in some sense goblins still prevails; and there are New England women who would shrink superstitiously from the experiment of leaving grimalkin alone with the baby.
The first of these myths is distinctively of New England origin, though its analogy to the Arab, German, and Hungarian, has occasioned its reference to a primitive stem. The ghoul of the Arab—which Moore in Lalla Rookh spells ghole, and whence some philologists draw the English owl—is a demon in the form of a woman, feeding upon the dead and inhabiting cemeteries, ruins, and desert places. The ghoul is the scavenger of Azrael, and the spirit of desolation, rottenness and decay—the buzzard and jackal of pandemonium,but is never fabled as assuming other than woman's shape.
The vampire-ghastly and terrible as is the conceptionbears as little relation to the New England legend. The Elfe-maid inhabits woodlands in the form of a beautiful woman offering the wayfarer a cup of wine, the drinking of which makes mad. A German ballad thus photographs the temptress :
" She sits 'neath a linden singing, singing,
Though her dropped lids nothing say;
According to the superstition, she is a mask, not a spirit-one of those nondescript Germanesque goblins with which Teutonic household stories so plentifully abound. Nor can any genitic relation be traced between the German Elfe-maid and the Arab ghoul, which in Hebrew appears as the lilith, or the Hungarian vampire and the New England quick consumption. They are quite distinct superstitions, having a quite distinct genesis.
A single primitive myth of vampirism remains to be noted, as affording the solution of the ancient custom of strangling the second-born of twins. Even in the primitive story of Jacob and Esau, and the hatred of the latter for his brother, a hint of the primitive superstition is embodied, which demonstrates its great antiquity and accounts for its universality in some form or other. It was held by the ancients that the second of the two was a sort of vampire creation, feeding subtly upon the substance of the other. Hence, the destruction of the former, an attempt to circumvent which by the mother was visited with the death penalty. To this myth, perhaps, is traceable the New England superstition which invests quick consumption with a sort of atmosphere of the preternatural.
And in ultimate analysis, what are all these myths of ghoul, vampire and kaksdæmon but so many equivalents for the given theory of diseases-so many dim prefigurations of a dawning scientific hypothesis ? The fact that almost every important hypothesis of modern science has its origin in primitive myth, has been established. It remains now to submit that fact in the form of a generalization—to express it in the terms of a law. What then is the principle—the law—that governs and controls this gradual transition, from age to age, of certain fundamental conceptions, religious and scientific, from the myth-form to that of positive knowledge ? This, doubtless: that the germs of all fundamental truths are im
VOL. XXVII. --NO. LIV.
planted in the instincts, and gradually grow their way into rational definition, as culture advances, blossoming as myths first, and finally bringing forth fruit as rational conceptions susceptible of rational explanation.
ART. IV.-1. Raphael of Urbino and his Father, Giovanni
Santi. By J. D. PASSAVANT. London. 1872. 2. Histoire de la vie et des Ouvrages de Raphael. Par
QUATREMÈRE DE QUINCY. Paris. 1835.
At least three of the great Italian artists have found earnest, able and painstaking biographers to chronicle their respective lives and works. Without forgetting to pay due tribute of respect to Vasari, Condivi, and other of their contemporaries, for their choice legacies of primitive facts and anecdotes, it must still be allowed that the present century of writers have done more to unveil mysteries and to reconcile adverse historical data than those of the three preceding centuries put together.
The remarkable career of Michael Angelo has been explored even to its smallest details, and learnedly written out by Dr. Hermann Grimm. The clouds of light and shadow which hung over the days of that most scientific of artist-natures have been rent at last, and thoroughly robbed of their fact and fancy by an eminent French critic, M. Arsène Houssaye. And now, finally, after the combined efforts of many preceding writers, Herr Passavant, director of the Frankfort museum, has performed his labor of love for the “divine” Raphael ; he has brought to light so many new facts, documents, letters, etc., and, indeed, has gone over the field with so much care, so much thoronghness, and so large an expenditure of time and money that it is almost impossible to conceive of anything new being discovered bearing in any way upon the subject.
The subject of the present article is Raphael of Urbino; and it shall be the aim of the writer to gather up such new facts and items of information as have been presented by his latest biographers. It would be impossible, of course, to offer within the present limits anything like a biography of the artist ; but in these days, when people's minds, diligent and attentive in other respects, are too apt to lose sight of those distinguished predecessors, whose wealth of genius and of talent has contributed largely to the enjoyment and necessary wants of all succeeding ages, it cannot prove amiss to recall some of the more important events in the life of Raphael, one artist among the many, whose immortal works the world never tires of praising, whose short but striking existence marks a golden age in the modern period.
It was in the small town of Urbino, on the morning of the 6th of April, 1483, that Magia, wife of Giovanni Santi, presented her husband with a son, who was destined to be the greatest ornament of the arts. The father, who, it seems, had had a presentiment of the position the child was to attain, baptized him Raphael, a name which had no precedent in the family, and Vasari relates that he would not allow the child to have a wet nurse, as he wished the mother herself to nurse him. Of the early years of Raphael nothing at all is known, except that after the death of his father, in 1494, he was entrusted to the care of Bernardina, his stepmother, his own mother having died in 1491, and of the priest, Don Bartolomeo, his guardian.
Pietro Vannucci, commonly called Peruquio, was then at the height of his glory, acquired principally by the works executed at this time. It was his good fortune to be chosen as the guide of the child Raphael, who, as Herr Passavant remarks,“ was destined to catch the inspiration of his master, transform it, and raise it to a height that the master himself had never dreamt of.” It was probably in 1495 that Raphael went to study under Peruquio, although no real date is assigned. If, at the outset, Peruquio, astonished at the precocious talent manifested by Raphael in drawing, charmed with the amiable temper, the deportment and the grace of his pupil, predicted that he would soon become his master, the young man, on his