10 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 17



THIS is a poorer book, much poorer, than Grimm's Life of Michael Angelo. Indeed it is rather an essay than a life, the Baron von Wolzogen in his horror of details having avoided nearly every- thing that was characteristic, having indeed been content to mould his idea so that it was visible to himself, without making it patent to the world which alone is to benefit by the expression of his inward thought. Miss E. Bunnett, who fills so well the place which Miss Austin's marriage left vacant, must have felt some- times a little weary of her task, a little longing for that wealth of knowledge and of anecdote, of fact and deduction, with which Hermann Grimm not only made his pages live, but the subject of his pages. He is a thoughtful man, Herr von Wolzogen, and as we interpret his essay he understands Raphael, but he might have given us the grounds of that comprehension somewhat less stingily, have suffered his readers to form for themselves some opinion of the wondrous lad who, great at twenty, left at thirty-seven a name which will die when men have gone back to barbarism, and works which, could they be collected to-day, would sell by auction for the equivalent of a great realized fortune. He might have told us something of his inner life, given us something more of his correspondence, repeated, if he did not believe, the stories in which the painter's contemporaries trusted, and which, if false, show one of the most important of truths, —the idea those contemporaries had formed of his hero's nature. Raphael as he appeared to his Maker no biographer may describe, or could have described had he had Raphael's earnest assistance ; and of Raphael as he appeared to himself we have little trace, save that we know that he who drew Madonnas which seem to Pro- testants worthy objects of worship, drew also women who seem to men of the world not moved by accidents to breathe forth an atmos- phere of voluptuousness, and we know therefore there was in him at least the genius which can appreciate, if it cannot diffuse, exqui- site purity, and the instinct which can render, though also it may not absolutely feel, the charm of the flesh. We know that in his face were united the evidence of two impulses, —those eyes which look out, as so often in his sacred pictures, upon scenes the world does not see, eyes which perceive, as Gray sang, " the living throne, the sapphire blaze, where angels tremble while they gaze," and the full, clear-cut mobile lips, arched like the lips of a statue of Cupid, full as those of a girl when love is full upon her, both being imbedded in the pale, worn, yet refulgent face which belongs only to natures in which passion and impulses higher than passion are struggling always for the mastery, the face which could—judge all who see it—harden into that of a priest or develops into that of a voluptuary, or, dropping both alloys of earth, shine out as that of an all-pitying but undimmed angel. But still, though of this so little could be given, it would be something to know how Raphael seemed to those around him, and we have only what he seems to Herr von Wolzogen. That is much perhaps, it seems to this writer much, for judging by the few lights he has the Baron understands his hero, but it is diffi- cult not to long for more, for that full detail of his life which it is possible still to give, which Hermann Grimm has given of the life of Michael Angelo.

Raphael is, so 'far as we may venture to understand him, the concrete expression of the youth of European Art, art with its veins full, and its blood in full motion, teeming alike with rever- ence and power and voluptuousness, ready to paint the Spirit moving over the waters so that the spectator shall hold his breath with awe, or the Madonna,—the pure goddess imagined by mediaeval Europe to break the horror which surrounded the conception of the true God,—or the Fornarina, visible incarnation of the volup- tuousness in man. He was the man who was penetrated to the full by the Paganism of the renaissance, Paganism that is complete and joy- ous and earthly as when it perished, but with a new consciousness that it was but a minor truth, that beyond it lay higher regions, irradiated by a brighter light, vivid with a clearer atmosphere, Paganism rejoicing in its beauty, flushed with the radiance from its own vitality and health, yet aware of a future in which vitality must obey other conditions and health be no quality of the flesh, but who united with this Paganism a clear and deep belief in

• The We of Raphael Sonii. By the Baum von Wolzogen. Translated by F. E Bunsen, translator of Grimm's Life of Michael Angelo. London : Smith, Elder, and ce.,1560.

Christianity, in the creed which for fourteen centuries had been thought antagonist to this Paganism, which for four centuries. more has been described as hostile to this Paganism, which two centuries hence men will see bears to this Paganism, and to all others, and to all false beliefs, or half-beliefs, or bits of beliefs, just the relation which the soul bears to the body that is assumed to-day to imprison it. This man, who at thirty-seven, after painting the Madonna della Sisto, holy as only the perfect femi- nine ideal of Christianity could be holy, either died of sensuality, or was believed by all his contemporaries to have so died, was also a member of the society which devoted itself to the special wor- ship and culture of the Eucharist. Pagan and Catholic each in

their exaggerated expression, and boy also, to whom had been given that power which dispenses with experience and the organization which makes the realization of thought by the hands easier than the development of the thought itself, that was Raphael Sanzio_ Santi the man's name was, as we English,—who would despise a descent from Michael Angelo and honour a descent from any brigand who had murdered Saxons successfully—should write the name, son of a painter, one Giovanni Santi, citizen of Urbino, on the Apennines, a person not greatly known, except that he wrote

an eulogistic biography of a lord of Urbino, forgotten now except for his dependent's work, and that he happened, he and one Magia Ciarla, girl of a well-to-do mercantile family, to produce one of the people who last through the ages. The son learnt of him, and there must have been in the father somewhat, for he perceived the child's power, and gave him opportunities better than his own, placing him with the best teachers he could reach, and even securing him as a mere child public work. After his death Raphael fell to a step- mother, and was either placed by her, or placed himself, or was advised by an uncle, Simone di Battista Ciarla, mercantile per- son, probably with Medicean instincts, whom the boy at all events loved all his life, to study with Delle Pieve, whom it suits Englishmen, who never will give Italians their names, to call Perugino. At sixteen he was painting on commission, people not believing then apparently that genius, like some vinous flavours, is an attribute only of age, and at twenty-one " he formally quitted Perugino," carrying with him his master's ideas, but impressing on them that beauty which it was the function of his life to impart to all he touched. He could not indeed cure the radical defect of his master's school, an ignorance of human anatomy which made all its figure-painting timid—for if you do not know how a knee will crook itself, how paint the drapery upon the knee? —but he saw the defect, and at Florence he completed his educa- tion from the life, painting at twenty-two or twenty-three " The

Graces " now in the possession of Lord Dudley and more valuable perhaps than all the rest of his collection, and the " Entombment of Christ," the wonderful painting now the glory of the Borghese.

Gallery. In 1508, when he was twenty-five, a boy not fit to be made Under Secretary, whose elevation to the Cabinet would be a scandal, he was summoned to Rome by Pope Julius as first painter of the world. It was the theatre for him. Rome was probably at that time the one city without provincialism in the world, the centre of thought and, at least in the intention of her master, Julius, of action, the one spot interested in events without reference to geo- graphical or political limits. Here, working at the Pope's apart- ments, he perfected himself, drawing inspiration more especially from Michael Angelo, who slightly despised all of him but his paintings, but whose friend and disciple Vasari wrote of him thus :—

" Among all his rare gifts,' says Vasari, consider one to bo sa wonderful that it fills mo with amazement : that, namely, with which Heaven has invested him, the power to awaken that feeling in our circle which is at variance with the nature of painters : for all, not only the lesser artists, but even those who claimed to be great (and art produces numbers of such), were of one mind, as soon as they worked in Raphael's presence. All ill-humour disappeared when they saw him, every low common thought was banished from the mind. Such harmony has never reigned but in tho time in which ho lived. And the cause was this, that they felt themselves overcome by his kindliness, by his art, and still more by the might of his noble nature' (' ma piU dal genie dolls sua buona natura ')."

There was in truth in him what sprang, it may be, from his Pagan instincts, his belief in beauty and grace as having in themselves somewhat divine, as being entities, instead of mere clothing for entities, a gentleness and a dignity which made all who knew him love him, which spread through his nature and over his manner a gentleness and a loving consideration of which the far higher nature of Michael Angelo, au fond Italian patriot, had no vestige. There is a story told, probably false, that the two masters recog- nized this fact in somewhat harsh but penetrating language. " Michael Angelo, one day meeting Raphael surrounded by many of his pupils, called out to him, There you go, with a great train like a provost.' To whiahRliphaelis..said to-have answeroi,-, And you goalone like anexectutioner:' " " I esteem myself happy, never.

theless," said Raphael, at anothertinse, " to have been born in t times of Michael Angelo;- for through him :I have learned another art than that of the old masteral" and Michael Angelo, solitary

by the necessity of hisnatare and conseiausneasrof pluposes too high for those around, _-nevertheless recognized, if fie- could -not enjoy, the genius of his rival.- It was in Rome; too, that ho felliaz love with the woman whose, beauty. has lived ever since in. the Fornarina, who was byetradition the -daughter. of a turf-burner

on the other side of -the 'I:Thee-who charmed him till his friends bade

her sit by his side on the painting scaffold, lest she should draw him too perpetually from his work; and who was- the object to which his burning sonnete,- full of the-sensuous fire seldom absent

from his earthly paintings; were• dedicated: Itwas probably while abandoning-work for her-sake-that he wrote,—

" Love, that ensnar'stme-with thy magic light From-eyes that-melt MO into.hopeand-fears.;_ Like snow on roses lying she appears With word and- actions to inspire delight.

Until so warm my flame, that no sea wave Could.-quenoh. the burningardonr that I know ; Yet revelling in ther-flame I feel its glow, Nor wish from its consuming power to save. How sweetly passive was she when controll'd ; Throwing her white arms ass chain around, Until it seemed like death, to loose their hold.

Yet pause--I here,-the' still my thoughts: bound; For joys excessive, fatal- powers enfold ;

Yet while I cease, to thee my thoughts are bound."

With the death of Julius. in .1513, when Raphael was thirty, the greatest section of-his life ended, though he painted the well known Cartoons for Leo X.", and the Galatea for Agostini Chigi, a glorious figure, believed, unlike most of his works, to be his from sketch to completion, and was appointed architect of St. Peter's, for -which he drew a plan, preserved as Conservator of Rome most of the relics of antique art which now adorn the Vatican, and painted the noblest of all his works, the Sistine Madonna, with the supernatural eyes of the child Christ. In 1520, on the anni- versary of his birth thirty-seven years before, he died, worn out, Vhsari says, by excesses ; killed by bleeding, as others say ; of a fever, says Wolzogen; the truth being probably that he died of all, —of a fever which told terribly on a debilitated constitution, and was treated by bleeding. He left a competence to the Fornarina, his house to his patron, Cardinal Bibbiena, his - wealth to his -maternal relatives hr Urbino, and his works to Giulio Romano and Francesco Penni, and was borne to his grave in the Pantheon of Agrippa amidst the grief of the whole population of Rome, to be buried with this inscription on his tomb .—" This is that Raphael by whom Nature while he lived feared to be conquered, and when he died, to die." He was the greatest, though not the best, exponent of the doctrine which Mr. Kingsley and others have since modernized, that the soul and the body are not only equally of divine origin, but equally divine, a half-truth greater than the lie that the soul is of God and the body of the Devil, but yet so untrue that it is only amidst a momentary recoil from overstrained spiritualism that it has ever received acceptance from the human race- who, yielding to the body, still feel instinctively that the higher reverence is due primarily to the soul.