6 JUNE 1840, Page 19


A FEw pictures have been added to the national collection since our last mention ; two by purchase and four by gift. The purchases are the St. John with the Lamb, by Alunimi.o, for two thousand guineas, and the Head of ilarg Magdalen, by GulDo, for four hundred and fifty gui- neas; both of them bought at the recent sale of Sir Simosi CLARKE'S pictures. The St. John was one, and in our estimation the best, of a pair that were exhibited at the British Institution a season or two back : the pendant, Christ the Good Shipherd, was bought for two thousand nine hundred guineas, by one of the Ronisenims, who outbid the Go- vernment agent. We do not much regret its loss, for the figure of the Good Shepherd is almost a repetition of that of the Infant Saviour in the large Holy Family by Munn.no, in the Great Room. The St. John is one of the very best works of this class by Munna.o: the painting is ad- mirable lbr solidity, finish, sobriety of colouring, and depth of tone ; and though the sentiment is not elevated, the ingenuous.sim- plicity of the stripling is so engaging that we are content to accept the painter's idea of an infant St. John for what it is worth. The price is high for a Mulimi.o; but it being the current market value, we have no ground of objection to the acquisition of a first-rate work of the greatest master of the Spanish school. The (Intim Magdalen we can- not admire : the contour of the head is graceful, and the round-featured oval face, with unturned eves and flowing hair, is picturesque ; but the sentiment of profound grief and veneration is wanting. It is nothing noire than a fine study of the painter's favourite attitude; and more- over, it is out of drawing,—ea% qr. the eye and cheek of the shaded side of the face are too large, and the neck and throat are scarcely human, much less feminine. Neither is the colouring pleasing : the flesh is livid in its paleness, and the hair, though falling in waving curls, is not flaxen, but flax. We do not pretend to question its authen- ticity, nor is it needed thus to account for the weakness and poverty of the design and execution; for Gomm was often superficial and affected. We may remark, en passant, that the extravagantly high prices ob- tained for :ottle pictures intrinsically of little worth, and others of very questionable originality, denote that the mania for great names is re- viving. Unquestioilahly fine and genuine pictures, indeed, now fetch any money ; but they must have a pedigree, however false.

The acquisitions by gift are two fine portraits, presented by Mr.

KNIGIIT,—one of a man in black robes trimmed with fur, by J.teoro IlAssAso ; the other a Cardinal, by CARLO MARATTI. Both are fine of their class, \Villa, 60101 not of the highest, is by no means an inferior one ; and the present is worthy of Mr. KNIGHT'S reputation as a connoisseur, and honourable to his liberality. The other two are hardly worthy to form part of the national collection, though there are too many of a similar sort to keep them in countenance : Chi ist and his Disciples at Emmaus, presented by Lord VERNON, is one of the vulgar matter-of-net realities of common life painted by CARAVAGGIO, with- out that coarse gusto which redeems the meanness of his conceptions : the Trustees, by aceepling Mr. CAPEL Li.orr's pretended portrait of Milton, give a colour of authenticity to the resemblance, that is not warranted by the evidence: at any rate it is a libel on the great poet, which ought not to be sanctioned even by the dictum of a catalogue.