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Stones Of Venice - Introductions - Chapter 5. The Ducal Palace Post by :speeenterprises Category :Nonfictions Author :John Ruskin Date :May 2012 Read :3249

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Stones Of Venice - Introductions - Chapter 5. The Ducal Palace


SECTION I. It was stated in the commencement of the preceding chapter that the Gothic art of Venice was separated by the building of the Ducal Palace into two distinct periods; and that in all the domestic edifices which were raised for half a century after its completion, their characteristic and chiefly effective portions were more or less directly copied from it. The fact is, that the Ducal Palace was the great work of Venice at this period, itself the principal effort of her imagination, employing her best architects in its masonry, and her best painters in its decoration, for a long series of years; and we must receive it as a remarkable testimony to the influence which it possessed over the minds of those who saw it in its progress, that, while in the other cities of Italy every palace and church was rising in some original and daily more daring form, the majesty of this single building was able to give pause to the Gothic imagination in its full career; stayed the restlessness of innovation in an instant, and forbade the powers which had created it thenceforth to exert themselves in new directions, or endeavor to summon an image more attractive.

SECTION II. The reader will hardly believe that while the architectural invention of the Venetians was thus lost, Narcissus-like, in self-contemplation, the various accounts of the progress of the building thus admired and beloved are so confused as frequently to leave it doubtful to what portion of the palace they refer; and that there is actually, at the time being, a dispute between the best Venetian antiquaries, whether the main facade of the palace be of the fourteenth or fifteenth century. The determination of this question is of course necessary before we proceed to draw any conclusions from the style of the work; and it cannot be determined without a careful review of the entire history of the palace, and of all the documents relating to it. I trust that this review may not be found tedious,--assuredly it will not be fruitless,--bringing many facts before us, singularly illustrative of the Venetian character.

SECTION III. Before, however, the reader can enter upon any inquiry into the history of this building, it is necessary that he should be thoroughly familiar with the arrangement and names of its principal parts, as it at present stands; otherwise he cannot comprehend so much as a single sentence of any of the documents referring to it. I must do what I can, by the help of a rough plan and bird's-eye view, to give him the necessary topographical knowledge:

Opposite is a rude ground plan of the buildings round St. Mark's Place; and the following references will clearly explain their relative positions:

A. St. Mark's Place.
B. Piazzetta.
P. V. Procuratie Vecchie.
P. N. (opposite) Procuratie Nuove.
P. L. Libreria Vecchia.
I. Piazzetta de' Leoni.
T. Tower of St. Mark.
F F. Great Facade of St. Mark's Church.
M. St. Mark's. (It is so united with the Ducal Palace,
that the separation cannot be indicated in the
plan, unless all the walls had been marked,
which would have confused the whole.)
D D D. Ducal Palace. g s. Giant's stair.
C. Court of Ducal Palace. J. Judgement angle.
c. Porta della Carta. a. Fig-tree angle.
p p. Ponte della Paglia (Bridge of Straw).
S. Ponte de' Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs).
R R. Riva de' Schiavoni.

(Illustration: FIG. I. The Ducal Palace--Ground Plan.)

(Illustration: FIG. II. The Ducal Palace--Bird's eye View.)

The reader will observe that the Ducal Palace is arranged somewhat in the form of a hollow square, of which one side faces the Piazzetta, B, and another the quay called the Riva de' Schiavoni, R R; the third is on the dark canal called the "Rio del Palazzo," and the fourth joins the Church of St. Mark.

Of this fourth side, therefore, nothing can be seen. Of the other three sides we shall have to speak constantly; and they will be respectively called, that towards the Piazzetta, the "Piazzetta Facade;" that towards the Riva de' Schiavoni, the "Sea Facade;" and that towards the Rio del Palazzo, the "Rio Facade." This Rio, or canal, is usually looked upon by the traveller with great respect, or even horror, because it passes under the Bridge of Sighs. It is, however, one of the principal thoroughfares of the city; and the bridge and its canal together occupy, in the mind of a Venetian, very much the position of Fleet Street and Temple Bar in that of a Londoner,--at least, at the time when Temple Bar was occasionally decorated with human heads. The two buildings closely resemble each other in form.

SECTION IV. We must now proceed to obtain some rough idea of the appearance and distribution of the palace itself; but its arrangement will be better understood by supposing ourselves raised some hundred and fifty feet above the point in the lagoon in front of it, so as to get a general view of the Sea Facade and Rio Facade (the latter in very steep perspective), and to look down into its interior court. Fig. II. roughly represents such a view, omitting all details on the roofs, in order to avoid confusion. In this drawing we have merely to notice that, of the two bridges seen on the right, the uppermost, above the black canal, is the Bridge of Sighs; the lower one is the Ponte della Paglia, the regular thoroughfare from quay to quay, and, I believe, called the Bridge of Straw, because the boats which brought straw from the mainland used to sell it at this place. The corner of the palace, rising above this bridge, and formed by the meeting of the Sea Facade and Rio Facade, will always be called the Vine angle, because it is decorated by a sculpture of the drunkenness of Noah. The angle opposite will be called the Fig-tree angle, because it is decorated by a sculpture of the Fall of Man. The long and narrow range of building, of which the roof is seen in perspective behind this angle, is the part of the palace fronting the Piazzetta; and the angle under the pinnacle most to the left of the two which terminate it will be called, for a reason presently to be stated, the Judgment angle. Within the square formed by the building is seen its interior court (with one of its wells), terminated by small and fantastic buildings of the Renaissance period, which face the Giant's Stair, of which the extremity is seen sloping down on the left.

SECTION V. The great facade which fronts the spectator looks southward. Hence the two traceried windows lower than the rest, and to the right of the spectator, may be conveniently distinguished as the "Eastern Windows." There are two others like them, filled with tracery, and at the same level, which look upon the narrow canal between the Ponte della Paglia and the Bridge of Sighs: these we may conveniently call the "Canal Windows." The reader will observe a vertical line in this dark side of the palace, separating its nearer and plainer wall from a long four-storied range of rich architecture. This more distant range is entirely Renaissance: its extremity is not indicated, because I have no accurate sketch of the small buildings and bridges beyond it, and we shall have nothing whatever to do with this part of the palace in our present inquiry. The nearer and undecorated wall is part of the older palace, though much defaced by modern opening of common windows, refittings of the brickwork, etc.

SECTION VI. It will be observed that the facade is composed of a smooth mass of wall, sustained on two tiers of pillars, one above the other. The manner in which these support the whole fabric will be understood at once by the rough section, Fig. III., which is supposed to be taken right through the palace to the interior court, from near the middle of the Sea Facade. Here _a and _d are the rows of shafts, both in the inner court and on the Facade, which carry the main walls; _b_, _c are solid walls variously strengthened with pilasters. A, B, C are the three stories of the interior of the palace.

(Illustration: FIG. III.)

The reader sees that it is impossible for any plan to be more simple, and that if the inner floors and walls of the stories A, B were removed, there would be left merely the form of a basilica,--two high walls, carried on ranges of shafts, and roofed by a low gable.

The stories A, B are entirely modernized, and divided into confused ranges of small apartments, among which what vestiges remain of ancient masonry are entirely undecipherable, except by investigations such as I have had neither the time nor, as in most cases they would involve the removal of modern plastering, the opportunity, to make. With the subdivisions of this story, therefore, I shall not trouble the reader; but those of the great upper story, C, are highly important.

SECTION VII. In the bird's-eye view above, Fig. II., it will be noticed that the two windows on the right are lower than the other four of the facade. In this arrangement there is one of the most remarkable instances I know of the daring sacrifice of symmetry to convenience, which was noticed in Chap. VII. as one of the chief noblenesses of the Gothic schools.

The part of the palace in which the two lower windows occur, we shall find, was first built, and arranged in four stories in order to obtain the necessary number of apartments. Owing to circumstances, of which we shall presently give an account, it became necessary, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, to provide another large and magnificent chamber for the meeting of the senate. That chamber was added at the side of the older building; but, as only one room was wanted, there was no need to divide the added portion into two stories. The entire height was given to the single chamber, being indeed not too great for just harmony with its enormous length and breadth. And then came the question how to place the windows, whether on a line with the two others, or above them.

The ceiling of the new room was to be adorned by the paintings of the best masters in Venice, and it became of great importance to raise the light near that gorgeous roof, as well as to keep the tone of illumination in the Council Chamber serene; and therefore to introduce light rather in simple masses than in many broken streams. A modern architect, terrified at the idea of violating external symmetry, would have sacrificed both the pictures and the peace of the council. He would have placed the larger windows at the same level with the other two, and have introduced above them smaller windows, like those of the upper story in the older building, as if that upper story had been continued along the facade. But the old Venetian thought of the honor of the paintings, and the comfort of the senate, before his own reputation. He unhesitatingly raised the large windows to their proper position with reference to the interior of the chamber, and suffered the external appearance to take care of itself. And I believe the whole pile rather gains than loses in effect by the variation thus obtained in the spaces of wall above and below the windows.

SECTION VIII. On the party wall, between the second and third windows, which faces the eastern extremity of the Great Council Chamber, is painted the Paradise of Tintoret; and this wall will therefore be hereafter called the "Wall of the Paradise."

In nearly the centre of the Sea Facade, and between the first and second windows of the Great Council Chamber, is a large window to the ground, opening on a balcony, which is one of the chief ornaments of the palace, and will be called in future the "Sea Balcony."

The facade which looks on the Piazzetta is very nearly like this to the Sea, but the greater part of it was built in the fifteenth century, when people had become studious of their symmetries. Its side windows are all on the same level. Two light the west end of the Great Council Chamber, one lights a small room anciently called the Quarantia Civil Nuova; the other three, and the central one, with a balcony like that to the Sea, light another large chamber, called Sala del Scrutinio, or "Hall of Enquiry," which extends to the extremity of the palace above the Porta della Carta.

SECTION IX. The reader is now well enough acquainted with the topography of the existing building, to be able to follow the accounts of its history.

We have seen above, that there were three principal styles of Venetian architecture; Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance.

The Ducal Palace, which was the great work of Venice, was built successively in the three styles. There was a Byzantine Ducal Palace, a Gothic Ducal Palace, and a Renaissance Ducal Palace. The second superseded the first totally; a few stones of it (if indeed so much) are all that is left. But the third superseded the second in part only, and the existing building is formed by the union of the two.

We shall review the history of each in succession. (Footnote: The reader will find it convenient to note the following editions of the printed books which have been principally consulted in the following inquiry. The numbers of the manuscripts referred to in the Marcian Library are given with the quotations.

Sansovino. Venetia Descritta. 410, Venice, 1663.
Sansovino. Lettera intorno al Palazzo Ducale, 8vo, Venice, 1829.
Temanza. Antica Pianta di Venezia, with text. Venice, 1780.
Cadorin. Pareri di XV. Architetti. Svo, Venice,1838.
Filiasi. Memorie storiche. 8vo, Padua, 1811.
Bettio. Lettera discorsiva del Palazzo Ducale, 8vo, Venice, 1837.
Selvatico. Architettura di Venezia. 8vo, Venice, 1847.)


In the year of the death of Charlemagne, 813, the Venetians determined to make the island of Rialto the seat of the government and capital of their state. (Footnote: The year commonly given is 810, as in the Savina Chronicle (Cod. Marcianus), p. 13. "Del 810 fece principiar el pallazzo Ducal nel luogo ditto Brucio in confin di S. Moise, et fece riedificar la isola di Eraclia." The Sagornin Chronicle gives 804; and Filiasi, vol. vi. chap. I, corrects this date to 813.) Their Doge, Angelo or Agnello Participazio, instantly took vigorous means for the enlargement of the small group of buildings which were to be the nucleus of the future Venice. He appointed persons to superintend the raising of the banks of sand, so as to form more secure foundations, and to build wooden bridges over the canals. For the offices of religion, he built the Church of St. Mark; and on, or near, the spot where the Ducal Palace now stands, he built a palace for the administration of the government. (Footnote: "Amplio la citta, fornilla di casamenti, _e per il culto d' Iddio e l' amministrazione della giustizia eresse la capella di S. Marco, e il palazzo di sua residenza."--Pareri, p. 120. Observe, that piety towards God, and justice towards man, have been at least the nominal purposes of every act and institution of ancient Venice. Compare also Temanza, p. 24. "Quello che abbiamo di certo si e che il suddetto Agnello lo incommincio da fondamenti, e cosi pure la capella ducale di S. Marco.")

The history of the Ducal Palace therefore begins with the birth of Venice, and to what remains of it, at this day, is entrusted the last representation of her power.

SECTION X. Of the exact position and form of this palace of Participazio little is ascertained. Sansovino says that it was "built near the Ponte della Paglia, and answeringly on the Grand Canal," towards San Giorgio; that is to say, in the place now occupied by the Sea Facade; but this was merely the popular report of his day. (Footnote: What I call the Sea, was called "the Grand Canal" by the Venetians, as well as the great water street of the city; but I prefer calling it "the Sea," in order to distinguish between that street and the broad water in front of the Ducal Palace, which, interrupted only by the island of San Giorgio, stretches for many miles to the south, and for more than two to the boundary of the Lido. It was the deeper channel, just in front of the Ducal Palace, continuing the line of the great water street itself which the Venetians spoke of as "the Grand Canal." The words of Sansovino are: "Fu cominciato dove si vede, vicino al ponte della paglia, et rispondente sul canal grande." Filiasi says simply: "The palace was built where it now is." "Il palazio fu fatto dove ora pure esiste."--Vol. iii. chap. 27. The Savina Chronicle, already quoted, says: "in the place called the Bruolo (or Broglio), that is to say on the Piazzetta.")

We know, however, positively, that it was somewhere upon the site of the existing palace; and that it had an important front towards the Piazzetta, with which, as we shall see hereafter, the present palace at one period was incorporated. We know, also, that it was a pile of some magnificence, from the account given by Sagornino of the visit paid by the Emperor Otho the Great, to the Doge Pietro Orseolo II. The chronicler says that the Emperor "beheld carefully all the beauty of the palace;" (Footnote: "Omni decoritate illius perlustrata."--Sagornino, quoted by Cadorin and Temanza.) and the Venetian historians express pride in the buildings being worthy of an emperor's examination. This was after the palace had been much injured by fire in the revolt against Candiano IV., (Footnote: There is an interesting account of this revolt in Monaci, p. 68. Some historians speak of the palace as having been destroyed entirely; but, that it did not even need important restorations, appears from Sagornino's expression, quoted by Cadorin and Temanza. Speaking of the Doge Participazio, he says: "Qui Palatii hucusque manentis fuerit fabricator." The reparations of the palace are usually attributed to the successor of Candiano, Pietro Orseolo I.; but the legend, under the picture of that Doge in the Council Chamber, speaks only of his rebuilding St. Mark's, and "performing many miracles." His whole mind seems to have been occupied with ecclesiastical affairs; and his piety was finally manifested in a way somewhat startling to the state, by absconding with a French priest to St. Michael's in Gascony, and there becoming a monk. What repairs, therefore, were necessary to the Ducal Palace, were left to be undertaken by his son, Orseolo II., above named.) and just repaired, and richly adorned by Orseolo himself, who is spoken of by Sagornino as having also "adorned the chapel of the Ducal Palace" (St. Mark's) with ornaments of marble and gold. (Footnote: "Quam non modo marmoreo, verum aureo compsit ornamento."--_Temanza_) There can be no doubt whatever that the palace at this period resembled and impressed the other Byzantine edifices of the city, such as the Fondaco de Turchi, &c., whose remains have been already described; and that, like them, it was covered with sculpture, and richly adorned with gold and color.

SECTION XI. In the year 1106, it was for the second time injured by fire, (Footnote: "L'anno 1106, uscito fuoco d'una casa privata, arse parte del palazzo."--_Sansovino_. Of the beneficial effect of these fires, vide Cadorin.) but repaired before 1116, when it received another emperor, Henry V. (of Germany), and was again honored by imperial praise. (Footnote: "Urbis situm, aedificiorum decorem, et regiminis sequitatem multipliciter commendavit."--_Cronaca Dandolo_, quoted by Cadorin.)

Between 1173 and the close of the century, it seems to have been again repaired and much enlarged by the Doge Sebastian Ziani. Sansovino says that this Doge not only repaired it, but "enlarged it in every direction;" (Footnote: "Non solamente rinovo il palazzo, ma lo aggrandi per ogni verso."--_Sansovino_. Zanotto quotes the Altinat Chronicle for account of these repairs.) and, after this enlargement, the palace seems to have remained untouched for a hundred years, until, in the commencement of the fourteenth century, the works of the Gothic Palace were begun. As, therefore, the old Byzantine building was, at the time when those works first interfered with it, in the form given to it by Ziani, I shall hereafter always speak of it as the _Ziani Palace; and this the rather, because the only chronicler whose words are perfectly clear respecting the existence of part of this palace so late as the year 1422, speaks of it as built by Ziani. The old "palace of which half remains to this day, was built, as we now see it, by Sebastian Ziani." (Footnote: "El palazzo che anco di mezzo se vede vecchio, per M. Sebastian Ziani fu fatto compir, come el se vede."--_Chronicle of Pietro Dolfino_, Cod. Ven. p. 47. This Chronicle is spoken of by Sansovino as "molto particolare, e distinta."--_Sansovino, Venezia descritta_, p. 593.--It terminates in the year 1422.)

So far, then, of the Byzantine Palace.

SECTION XII. 2nd. The GOTHIC PALACE. The reader, doubtless, recollects that the important change in the Venetian government which gave stability to the aristocratic power took place about the year 1297, (Footnote: See Vol. I. Appendix 3, Stones of Venice.) under the Doge Pietro Gradenigo, a man thus characterized by Sansovino:--"A prompt and prudent man, of unconquerable determination and great eloquence, who laid, so to speak, the foundations of the eternity of this republic, by the admirable regulations which he introduced into the government."

We may now, with some reason, doubt of their admirableness; but their importance, and the vigorous will and intellect of the Doge, are not to be disputed. Venice was in the zenith of her strength, and the heroism of her citizens was displaying itself in every quarter of the world. (Footnote: Vide Sansovino's enumeration of those who flourished in the reign of Gradenigo, p. 564.) The acquiescence in the secure establishment of the aristocratic power was an expression, by the people, of respect for the families which had been chiefly instrumental in raising the commonwealth to such a height of prosperity.

The Serrar del Consiglio fixed the numbers of the Senate within certain limits, and it conferred upon them a dignity greater than they had ever before possessed. It was natural that the alteration in the character of the assembly should be attended by some change in the size, arrangement, or decoration of the chamber in which they sat.

We accordingly find it recorded by Sansovino, that "in 1301 another saloon was begun on the Rio del Palazzo, _under the Doge Gradenigo_, and finished in 1309, _in which year the Grand Council first sat in it_." (Footnote: Sansovino, 324, I.) In the first year, therefore, of the fourteenth century, the Gothic Ducal Palace of Venice was begun; and as the Byzantine Palace was, in its foundation, coeval with that of the state, so the Gothic Palace was, in its foundation, coeval with that of the aristocratic power. Considered as the principal representation of the Venetian school of architecture, the Ducal Palace is the Parthenon of Venice, and Gradenigo its Pericles.

SECTION XIII. Sansovino, with a caution very frequent among Venetian historians, when alluding to events connected with the Serrar del Consiglio, does not specially mention the cause for the requirement of the new chamber; but the Sivos Chronicle is a little more distinct in expression. "In 1301, it was determined to build a great saloon _for the assembling of the Great Council, and the room was built which is _now called the Sala del Scrutinio." (Footnote: "1301 fu presa parte di fare una sala grande per la riduzione del gran consiglio, e fu fatta quella che ora si chiama dello Scrutinio."--_Cronaca Sivos_, quoted by Cadorin. There is another most interesting entry in the Chronicle of Magno, relating to this event; but the passage is so ill written, that I am not sure if I have deciphered it correctly:--"Del 1301 fu preso de fabrichar la sala fo ruina e fu fata (fatta) quella se adoperava a far e pregadi e fu adopera per far el Gran Consegio fin 1423, che fu anni 122." This last sentence, which is of great importance, is luckily unmistakable:--"The room was used for the meetings of the Great Council until 1423, that is to say, for 122 years."--_Cod. Ven. tom. i. p. 126. The Chronicle extends from 1253 to 1454.

Abstract 1301 to 1309; Gradenigo's room--1340-42, page 295-1419. New proposals, p. 298.) _Now_, that is to say, at the time when the Sivos Chronicle was written; the room has long ago been destroyed, and its name given to another chamber on the opposite side of the palace: but I wish the reader to remember the date 1301, as marking the commencement of a great architectural epoch, in which took place the first appliance of the energy of the aristocratic power, and of the Gothic style, to the works of the Ducal Palace. The operations then begun were continued, with hardly an interruption, during the whole period of the prosperity of Venice. We shall see the new buildings consume, and take the place of, the Ziani Palace, piece by piece: and when the Ziani Palace was destroyed, they fed upon themselves; being continued round the square, until, in the sixteenth century, they reached the point where they had been begun in the fourteenth, and pursued the track they had then followed some distance beyond the junction; destroying or hiding their own commencement, as the serpent, which is the type of eternity, conceals its tail in its jaws.

SECTION XIV. We cannot, therefore, _see the extremity, wherein lay the sting and force of the whole creature,--the chamber, namely, built by the Doge Gradenigo; but the reader must keep that commencement and the date of it carefully in his mind. The body of the Palace Serpent will soon become visible to us.

The Gradenigo Chamber was somewhere on the Rio Facade, behind the present position of the Bridge of Sighs; i.e. about the point marked on the roof by the dotted lines in the woodcut; it is not known whether low or high, but probably on a first story. The great facade of the Ziani Palace being, as above mentioned, on the Piazzetta, this chamber was as far back and out of the way as possible; secrecy and security being obviously the points first considered.

SECTION XV. But the newly constituted Senate had need of other additions to the ancient palace besides the Council Chamber. A short, but most significant, sentence is added to Sansovino's account of the construction of that room. "There were, _near it_," he says, "the Cancellaria, and the _Gheba or _Gabbia_, afterwards called the Little Tower." (Footnote: "Vi era appresso la Cancellarla, e la Gheba o Gabbia, iniamata poi Torresella,"---P. 324. A small square tower is seen above the Vine angle in the view of Venice dated 1500, and attributed to Albert Durer. It appears about 25 feet square, and is very probably the Torresella in question.)

Gabbia means a "cage;" and there can be no question that certain apartments were at this time added at the top of the palace and on the Rio Facade, which were to be used as prisons. Whether any portion of the old Torresella still remains is a doubtful question; but the apartments at the top of the palace, in its fourth story, were still used for prisons as late as the beginning of the seventeenth century. (Footnote: Vide Bettio, Lettera, p. 23.) I wish the reader especially to notice that a separate tower or range of apartments was built for this purpose, in order to clear the government of the accusations so constantly made against them, by ignorant or partial historians, of wanton cruelty to prisoners. The stories commonly told respecting the "piombi" of the Ducal Palace are utterly false. Instead of being, as usually reported, small furnaces under the leads of the palace, they were comfortable rooms, with good flat roofs of larch, and carefully ventilated. (Footnote: Bettio, Lettera, p. 20. "Those who wrote without having seen them described them as covered with lead; and those who have seen them know that, between their flat timber roofs and the sloping leaden roof of the palace the interval is five metres where it is least, and nine where it is greatest.") The new chamber, then, and the prisons, being built, the Great Council first sat in their retired chamber on the Rio in the year 1309.

SECTION XVI. Now, observe the significant progress of events. They had no sooner thus established themselves in power than they were disturbed by the conspiracy of the Tiepolos, in the year 1310. In consequence of that conspiracy the Council of Ten was created, still under the Doge Gradenigo; who, having finished his work and left the aristocracy of Venice armed with this terrible power, died in the year 1312, some say by poison. He was succeeded by the Doge Marino Giorgio, who reigned only one year; and then followed the prosperous government of John Soranzo. There is no mention of any additions to the Ducal Palace during his reign, but he was succeeded by that Francesco Dandolo, the sculptures on whose tomb, still existing in the cloisters of the Salute, may be compared by any traveller with those of the Ducal Palace. Of him it is recorded in the Savina Chronicle: "This Doge also had the great gate built which is at the entry of the palace, above which is his statue kneeling, with the gonfalon in hand, before the feet of the Lion of St. Mark's." (Footnote: "Questo Dose anche fese far la porta granda che se al intrar del Pallazzo, in su la qual vi e la sua statua che sta in zenocchioni con lo confalon in man, davanti li pie de lo Lion S. Marco."--_Savin Chronicle_, Cod. Ven. p. 120.)

SECTION XVII. It appears, then, that after the Senate had completed their Council Chamber and the prisons, they required a nobler door than that of the old Ziani Palace for their Magnificences to enter by. This door is twice spoken of in the government accounts of expenses, which are fortunately preserved, (Footnote: These documents I have not examined myself, being satisfied of the accuracy of Cadorin, from whom I take the passages quoted.) in the following terms:--

"1335, June 1. We, Andrew Dandolo and Mark Loredano, procurators of St. Mark's, have paid to Martin the stone-cutter and his associates.... (Footnote: "Libras tres, soldeos 15 grossorum."--Cadorin, 189, I.) for a stone of which the lion is made which is put over the gate of the palace."

"1344, November 4. We have paid thirty-five golden ducats for making gold leaf, to gild the lion which is over the door of the palace stairs."

The position of this door is disputed, and is of no consequence to the reader, the door itself having long ago disappeared, and been replaced by the Porta della Carta.

SECTION XVIII. But before it was finished, occasion had been discovered for farther improvements. The Senate found their new Council Chamber inconveniently small, and, about thirty years after its completion, began to consider where a larger and more magnificent one might be built. The government was now thoroughly established, and it was probably felt that there was some meanness in the retired position, as well as insufficiency in the size, of the Council Chamber on the Rio. The first definite account which I find of their proceedings, under these circumstances, is in the Caroldo Chronicle: (Footnote: Cod. Ven., No. CXLI. p. 365.)

"1340. On the 28th of December, in the preceding year, Master Marco Erizzo, Nicolo Soranzo, and Thomas Gradenigo, were chosen to examine where a new saloon might be built in order to assemble therein the Greater Council.... On the 3rd of June, 1341, the Great Council elected two procurators of the work of this saloon, with a salary of eighty ducats a year."

It appears from the entry still preserved in the Archivio, and quoted by Cadorin, that it was on the 28th of December, 1340, that the commissioners appointed to decide on this important matter gave in their report to the Grand Council, and that the decree passed thereupon for the commencement of a new Council Chamber on the Grand Canal. (Footnote: Sansovino is more explicit than usual in his reference to this decree: "For it having appeared that the place (the first Council Chamber) is not capacious enough, the saloon on the Grand Canal was ordered." "Per cio parendo che il luogo non fosse capace, fu ordinata la Sala sul Canal Grande."--P. 324.)

_The room then begun is the one now in existence_, and its building involved the building of all that is best and most beautiful in the present Ducal Palace, the rich arcades of the lower stories being all prepared for sustaining this Sala del Gran Consiglio.

SECTION XIX. In saying that it is the same now in existence, I do not mean that it has undergone no alterations; as we shall see hereafter, it has been refitted again and again, and some portions of its walls rebuilt; but in the place and form in which it first stood, it still stands; and by a glance at the position which its windows occupy, as shown in Figure II. above, the reader will see at once that whatever can be known respecting the design of the Sea Facade, must be gleaned out of the entries which refer to the building of this Great Council Chamber.

Cadorin quotes two of great importance, to which we shall return in due time, made during the progress of the work in 1342 and 1344; then one of 1349, resolving that the works at the Ducal Palace, which had been discontinued during the plague, should be resumed; and finally one in 1362, which speaks of the Great Council Chamber as having been neglected and suffered to fall into "great desolation," and resolves that it shall be forthwith completed. (Footnote: Cadorin, 185, 2. The decree of 1342 is falsely given as of 1345 by the Sivos Chronicle, and by Magno; while Sanuto gives the decree to its right year, 1342, but speaks of the Council Chamber as only begun in 1345.)

The interruption had not been caused by the plague only, but by the conspiracy of Faliero, and the violent death of the master builder. (Footnote: Calendario. See Appendix I., Vol. III.) The work was resumed in 1362, and completed within the next three years, at least so far as that Guariento was enabled to paint his Paradise on the walls; (Footnote: "II primo che vi colorisse fu Guariento il quale l'anno 1365 vi fece il Paradiso in testa della sala."--_Sansovino_.) so that the building must, at any rate, have been roofed by this time. Its decorations and fittings, however, were long in completion; the paintings on the roof being only executed in 1400. (Footnote: "L'an poi 1400 vi fece il ciclo compartita a quadretti d'oro, ripieni di stelle, ch'era la insegna del Doge Steno."--_Sansovino_, lib. viii.) They represented the heavens covered with stars, (Footnote: "In questi tempi si messe in oro il ciclo della sala del Gran Consiglio et si fece il pergole del finestra grande chi guarda sul canale, adornato l'uno e l'altro di stelle, eh' erano la insegne del Doge."--_Sansovino_, lib. xiii. Compare also Pareri, p. 129.) this being, says Sansovino, the bearings of the Doge Steno. Almost all ceilings and vaults were at this time in Venice covered with stars, without any reference to armorial bearings; but Steno claims, under his noble title of Stellifer, an important share in completing the chamber, in an inscription upon two square tablets, now inlaid in the walls on each side of the great window towards the sea:


And in fact it is to this Doge that we owe the beautiful balcony of that window, though the work above it is partly of more recent date; and I think the tablets bearing this important inscription have been taken out and reinserted in the newer masonry. The labor of these final decorations occupied a total period of sixty years. The Grand Council sat in the finished chamber for the first time in 1423. In that year the Gothic Ducal Palace of Venice was completed. It had taken, to build it, the energies of the entire period which I have above described as the central one of her life.

SECTION XX. 3rd. The RENAISSANCE PALACE. I must go back a step or two, in order to be certain that the reader understands clearly the state of the palace in 1423. The works of addition or renovation had now been proceeding, at intervals, during a space of a hundred and twenty-three years. Three generations at least had been accustomed to witness the gradual advancement of the form of the Ducal Palace into more stately symmetry, and to contrast the Works of sculpture and painting with which it was decorated,--full of the life, knowledge, and hope of the fourteenth century,--with the rude Byzantine chiselling of the palace of the Doge Ziani. The magnificent fabric just completed, of which the new Council Chamber was the nucleus, was now habitually known in Venice as the "Palazzo Nuovo;" and the old Byzantine edifice, now ruinous, and more manifest in its decay by its contrast with the goodly stones of the building which had been raised at its side, was of course known as the "Palazzo Vecchio." (Footnote: Baseggio (Pareri, p. 127) is called the Proto of the _New Palace. Farther notes will be found in Appendix I., Vol. III.) That fabric, however, still occupied the principal position in Venice. The new Council Chamber had been erected by the side of it towards the Sea; but there was not then the wide quay in front, the Riva dei Schiavoni, which now renders the Sea Facade as important as that to the Piazzetta. There was only a narrow walk between the pillars and the water; and the _old palace of Ziani still faced the Piazzetta, and interrupted, by its decrepitude, the magnificence of the square where the nobles daily met. Every increase of the beauty of the new palace rendered the discrepancy between it and the companion building more painful; and then began to arise in the minds of all men a vague idea of the necessity of destroying the old palace, and completing the front of the Piazzetta with the same splendor as the Sea Facade. But no such sweeping measure of renovation had been Contemplated by the Senate when they first formed the plan of their new Council Chamber. First a single additional room, then a gateway, then a larger room; but all considered merely as necessary additions to the palace, not as involving the entire reconstruction of the ancient edifice. The exhaustion of the treasury, and the shadows upon the political horizon, rendered it more than imprudent to incur the vast additional expense which such a project involved; and the Senate, fearful of itself, and desirous to guard against the weakness of its own enthusiasm, passed a decree, like the effort of a man fearful of some strong temptation to keep his thoughts averted from the point of danger. It was a decree, not merely that the old palace should not be rebuilt, but that no one should _propose rebuilding it. The feeling of the desirableness of doing so was, too strong to permit fair discussion, and the Senate knew that to bring forward such a motion was to carry it.

SECTION XXI. The decree, thus passed in order to guard against their own weakness, forbade any one to speak of rebuilding the old palace under the penalty of a thousand ducats. But they had rated their own enthusiasm too low: there was a man among them whom the loss of a thousand ducats could not deter from proposing what he believed to be for the good of the state.

Some excuse was given him for bringing forward the motion, by a fire which occurred in 1419, and which injured both the church of St. Mark's, and part of the old palace fronting the Piazzetta. What followed, I shall relate in the words of Sanuto. (Footnote: Cronaca Sanudo, No. cxxv. in the Marcian Library, p. 568.)

SECTION XXII. "Therefore they set themselves with all diligence and care to repair and adorn sumptuously, first God's house; but in the Prince's house things went on more slowly, _for it did not please the Doge (Footnote: Tomaso Mocenigo.) _to restore it in the form in which it was before_; and they could not rebuild it altogether in a better manner, so great was the parsimony of these old fathers; because it was forbidden by laws, which condemned in a penalty of a thousand ducats any one who should propose to throw down the _old palace, and to rebuild it more richly and with greater expense. But the Doge, who was magnanimous, and who desired above all things what was honorable to the city, had the thousand ducats carried into the Senate Chamber, and then proposed that the palace should be rebuilt; saying: that, 'since the late fire had ruined in great part the Ducal habitation (not only his own private palace, but all the places used for public business) this occasion was to be taken for an admonishment sent from God, that they ought to rebuild the palace more nobly, and in a way more befitting the greatness to which, by God's grace, their dominions had reached; and that his motive in proposing this was neither ambition, nor selfish interest: that, as for ambition, they might have seen in the whole course of his life, through so many years, that he had never done anything for ambition, either in the city, or in foreign business; but in all his actions had kept justice first in his thoughts, and then the advantage of the state, and the honor of the Venetian name: and that, as far as regarded his private interest, if it had not been for this accident of the fire, he would never have thought of changing anything in the palace into either a more sumptuous or a more honorable form; and that during the many years in which he had lived in it, he had never endeavored to make any change, but had always been content with it, as his predecessors had left it; and that he knew well that, if they took in hand to build it as he exhorted and besought them, being now very old, and broken down with many toils, God would call him to another life before the walls were raised a pace from the ground. And that therefore they might perceive that he did not advise them to raise this building for his own convenience, but only for the honor of the city and its Dukedom; and that the good of it would never be felt by him, but by his successors.' Then he said, that 'in order, as he had always done, to observe the laws,... he had brought with him the thousand ducats which had been appointed as the penalty for proposing such a measure, so that he might prove openly to all men that it was not his own advantage that he sought, but the dignity of the state.'" There was no one (Sanuto goes on to tell us) who ventured, or desired, to oppose the wishes of the Doge; and the thousand ducats were unanimously devoted to the expenses of the work. "And they set themselves with much diligence to the work; and the palace was begun in the form and manner in which it is at present seen; but, as Mocenigo had prophesied, not long after, he ended his life, and not only did not see the work brought to a close, but hardly even begun."

SECTION XXIII. There are one or two expressions in the above extracts which if they stood alone, might lead the reader to suppose that the whole palace had been thrown down and rebuilt. We must however remember, that, at this time, the new Council Chamber, which had been one hundred years in building, was actually unfinished, the council had not yet sat in it; and it was just as likely that the Doge should then propose to destroy and rebuild it, as in this year, 1853, it is that any one should propose in our House of Commons to throw down the new Houses of Parliament, under the title of the "old palace," and rebuild _them_.

SECTION XXIV. The manner in which Sanuto expresses himself will at once be seen to be perfectly natural, when it is remembered that although we now speak of the whole building as the "Ducal Palace," it consisted, in the minds of the old Venetians, of four distinct buildings. There were in it the palace, the state prisons, the senate-house, and the offices of public business; in other words, it was Buckingham Palace, the Tower of olden days, the Houses of Parliament, and Downing Street, all in one; and any of these four portions might be spoken of, without involving an allusion to any other. "Il Palazzo" was the Ducal residence, which, with most of the public offices, Mocenigo _did propose to pull down and rebuild, and which was actually pulled down and rebuilt. But the new Council Chamber, of which the whole facade to the Sea consisted, never entered into either his or Sanuto's mind for an instant, as necessarily connected with the Ducal residence.

I said that the new Council Chamber, at the time when Mocenigo brought forward his measure, had never yet been used. It was in the year 1422 (Footnote: Vide notes in Appendix.) that the decree passed to rebuild the palace: Mocenigo died in the following year, and Francesco Foscari was elected in his room. (Footnote: On the 4th of April, 1423, according to the copy of the Zancarol Chronicle in the Marcian Library, but previously, according to the Caroldo Chronicle, which makes Foscari enter the Senate as Doge on the 3rd of April.) The Great Council Chamber was used for the first time on the day when Foscari entered the Senate as Doge,--the 3rd of April, 1423, according to the Caroldo Chronicle; (Footnote: "Nella quale (the Sala del Gran Consiglio) non si fece Gran Consiglio salvo nell' anno 1423, alli 3, April, et fu il primo giorno che il Duce Foscari venisse in Gran Consiglio dopo la sua creatione."--Copy in Marcian Library, p. 365.) the 23rd, which is probably correct, by an anonymous MS., No. 60, in the Correr Museum; (Footnote: "E a di 23 April (1423, by the context) sequente fo fatto Gran Conscio in la salla nuovo dovi avanti non esta piu fatto Gran Conscio si che el primo Gran Conscio dopo la sua (Foscari's) creation fo fatto in la sala nuova, nel qual conscio fu el Marchese di Mantoa," &c., p. 426.)--and, the following year, on the 27th of March, the first hammer was lifted up against the old palace of Ziani. (Footnote: Compare Appendix I. Vol. III.)

SECTION XXV. That hammer stroke was the first act of the period properly called the "Renaissance" It was the knell of the architecture of Venice,--and of Venice herself.

The central epoch of her life was past; the decay had already begun: I dated its commencement above (Ch. I., Vol. I.) from the death of Mocenigo. A year had not yet elapsed since that great Doge had been called to his account: his patriotism, always sincere, had been in this instance mistaken; in his zeal for the honor of future Venice, he had forgotten what was due to the Venice of long ago. A thousand palaces might be built upon her burdened islands, but none of them could take the place, or recall the memory, of that which was first built upon her unfrequented shore. It fell; and, as if it had been the talisman of her fortunes, the city never flourished again.

SECTION XXVI. I have no intention of following out, in their intricate details, the operations which were begun under Foscari and continued under succeeding Doges till the palace assumed its present form, for I am not in this work concerned, except by occasional reference, with the architecture of the fifteenth century: but the main facts are the following. The palace of Ziani was destroyed; the existing facade to the Piazzetta built, so as both to continue and to resemble, in most particulars, the work of the Great Council Chamber. It was carried back from the Sea as far as the Judgment angle; beyond which is the Porta della Carta, begun in 1439, and finished in two years, under the Doge Foscari; (Footnote: "Tutte queste fatture si compirono sotto il dogade del Foscari, nel 1441."--_Pareri_, p. 131.) the interior buildings connected with it were added by the Doge Christopher Moro, (the Othello of Shakspeare) (Footnote: This identification has been accomplished, and I think conclusively, by my friend Mr. Rawdon Brown, who has devoted all the leisure which, during the last twenty years his manifold office of kindness to almost every English visitant of Venice have left him, in discovering and translating the passages of the Venetian records which bear upon English history and literature. I shall have occasion to take advantage hereafter of a portion of his labors, which I trust will shortly be made public.) in 1462.

SECTION XXVII. By reference to the figure the reader will see that we have now gone the round of the palace, and that the new work of 1462 was close upon the first piece of the Gothic palace, the _new Council Chamber of 1301. Some remnants of the Ziani Palace were perhaps still left between the two extremities of the Gothic Palace; or as is more probable, the last stones of it may have been swept away after the fire of 1419, and replaced by new apartments for the Doge. But whatever buildings, old or new, stood on this spot at the time of the completion of the Porta della Carta were destroyed by another great fire in 1479, together with so much of the palace on the Rio that, though the saloon of Gradenigo, then known as the Sala de' Pregadi, was not destroyed, it became necessary to reconstruct the entire facades of the portion of the palace behind the Bridge of Sighs, both towards the court and canal. This work was entrusted to the best Renaissance architects of the close of the fifteenth and opening of the sixteenth centuries; Antonio Ricci executing the Giant's staircase, and on his absconding with a large sum of the public money, Pietro Lombardo taking his place. The whole work must have been completed towards the middle of the sixteenth century. The architects of the palace, advancing round the square and led by fire, had more than reached the point from which they had set out; and the work of 1560 was joined to the work of 1301-1340, at the point marked by the conspicuous vertical line in Figure II on the Rio Facade.

SECTION XVIII. But the palace was not long permitted to remain in this finished form. Another terrific fire, commonly called the great fire, burst out in 1574, and destroyed the inner fittings and all the precious pictures of the Great Council Chamber, and of all the upper rooms on the Sea Facade, and most of those on the Rio Facade, leaving the building a mere shell, shaken and blasted by the flames. It was debated in the Great Council whether the ruin should not be thrown down, and an entirely new palace built in its stead. The opinions of all the leading architects of Venice were taken, respecting the safety of the walls, or the possibility of repairing them as they stood. These opinions, given in writing, have been preserved, and published by the Abbe Cadorin, in the work already so often referred to; and they form one of the most important series of documents connected with the Ducal Palace.

I cannot help feeling some childish pleasure in the accidental resemblance to my own name in that of the architect whose opinion was first given in favor of the ancient fabric, Giovanni Rusconi. Others, especially Palladio, wanted to pull down the old palace, and execute designs of their own; but the best architects in Venice, and to his immortal honor, chiefly Francesco Sansovino, energetically pleaded for the Gothic pile, and prevailed. It was successfully repaired, and Tintoret painted his noblest picture on the wall from which the Paradise of Guariento had withered before the flames.

SECTION XXIX. The repairs necessarily undertaken at this time were however extensive, and interfered in many directions with the earlier work of the palace: still the only serious alteration in its form was the transposition of the prisons, formerly at the top of the palace to the other side of the Rio del Palazzo; and the building of the Bridge of Sighs, to connect them with the palace, by Antonio da Ponte. The completion of this work brought the whole edifice into its present form; with the exception of alterations indoors, partitions, and staircases among the inner apartments, not worth noticing, and such barbarisms and defacements as have been suffered within the last fifty years, by, I suppose nearly every building of importance in Italy.

SECTION XXX. Now, therefore, we are at liberty to examine some of the details of the Ducal Palace, without any doubt about their dates. I shall not however, give any elaborate illustrations of them here, because I could not do them justice on the scale of the page of this volume, or by means of line engraving. I believe a new era is opening to us in the art of illustration, (Footnote: See the last chapter of the third volume, Stones of Venice.) and that I shall be able to give large figures of the details of the Ducal Palace at a price which will enable every person who is interested in the subject to possess them; so that the cost and labor of multiplying illustrations here would be altogether wasted. I shall therefore direct the reader's attention only to such points of interest as can be explained in the text.

SECTION XXXI. First, then, looking back to the woodcut at the beginning of this chapter, the reader will observe that, as the building was very nearly square on the ground plan, a peculiar prominence and importance were given to its angles, which rendered it necessary that they should be enriched and softened by sculpture. I do not suppose that the fitness of this arrangement will be questioned; but if the reader will take the pains to glance over any series of engravings of church towers or other four-square buildings in which great refinement of form has been attained, he will at once observe how their effect depends on some modification of the sharpness of the angle, either by groups of buttresses, or by turrets and niches rich in sculpture. It is to be noted also that this principle of breaking the angle is peculiarly Gothic, arising partly out of the necessity of strengthening the flanks of enormous buildings, where composed of imperfect materials, by buttresses or pinnacles; partly out of the conditions of Gothic warfare, which generally required a tower at the angle; partly out of the natural dislike of the meagreness of effect in buildings which admitted large surfaces of wall, if the angle were entirely unrelieved. The Ducal Palace, in its acknowledgment of this principle, makes a more definite concession to the Gothic spirit than any of the previous architecture of Venice. No angle, up to the time of its erection, had been otherwise decorated than by a narrow fluted pilaster of red marble, and the sculpture was reserved always, as in Greek and Roman work, for the plane surfaces of the building, with, as far as I recollect, two exceptions only, both in St. Mark's; namely, the bold and grotesque gargoyle on its north-west angle, and the angels which project from the four inner angles under the main cupola; both of these arrangements being plainly made under Lombardic influence. And if any other instances occur, which I may have at present forgotten, I am very sure the Northern influence will always be distinctly traceable in them.

SECTION XXXII. The Ducal Palace, however, accepts the principle in its completeness, and throws the main decoration upon its angles. The central window, which looks rich and important in the woodcut, was entirely restored in the Renaissance time, as we have seen, under the Doge Steno; so that we have no traces of its early treatment; and the principal interest of the older palace is concentrated in the angle sculpture, which is arranged in the following manner. The pillars of the two bearing arcades are much enlarged in thickness at the angles, and their capitals increased in depth, breadth, and fulness of subject; above each capital, on the angle of the wall, a sculptural subject is introduced, consisting, in the great lower arcade, of two or more figures of the size of life; in the upper arcade, of a single angel holding a scroll: above these angels rise the twisted pillars with their crowning niches, already noticed in the account of parapets in the seventh chapter; thus forming an unbroken line of decoration from the ground to the top of the angle.

SECTION XXXIII. It was before noticed that one of the corners of the palace joins the irregular outer buildings connected with St. Mark's, and is not generally seen. There remain, therefore, to be decorated, only the three angles, above distinguished as the Vine angle, the Fig-tree angle, and the Judgment angle; and at these we have, according to the arrangement just explained,--

First, Three great bearing capitals (lower arcade).

Secondly, Three figure subjects of sculpture above them (lower arcade).

Thirdly, Three smaller bearing capitals (upper arcade).

Fourthly, Three angels above them (upper arcade).

Fifthly, Three spiral, shafts with niches.

SECTION XXXIV. I shall describe the bearing capitals hereafter, in their order, with the others of the arcade; for the first point to which the reader's attention ought to be directed is the choice of subject in the great figure sculptures above them. These, observe, are the very corner stones of the edifice, and in them we may expect to find the most important evidences of the feeling, as well as the skill, of the builder. If he has anything to say to us of the purpose with which he built the palace, it is sure to be said here; if there was any lesson which he wished principally to teach to those for whom he built, here it is sure to be inculcated; if there was any sentiment which they themselves desired to have expressed in the principal edifice of their city, this is the place in which we may be secure of finding it legibly inscribed.

SECTION XXXV. Now the first two angles, of the Vine and Fig-tree, belong to the old, or true Gothic, Palace; the third angle belongs to the Renaissance imitation of it: therefore, at the first two angles, it is the Gothic spirit which is going to speak to us; and, at the third, the Renaissance spirit.

The reader remembers, I trust, that the most characteristic sentiment of all that we traced in the working of the Gothic heart, was the frank confession of its own weakness; and I must anticipate, for a moment, the results of our inquiry in subsequent chapters, so far as to state that the principal element in the Renaissance spirit, is its firm confidence in its own wisdom.

Hear, then, the two spirits speak for themselves.

The first main sculpture of the Gothic Palace is on what I have called the angle of the Fig-tree:

Its subject is the FALL OF MAN.

The second sculpture is on the angle of the Vine:

Its subject is the DRUNKENNESS OF NOAH.

The Renaissance sculpture is on the Judgment angle:

Its subject is the JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON.

It is impossible to overstate, or to regard with too much admiration, the significance of this single fact. It is as if the palace had been built at various epochs, and preserved uninjured to this day, for the sole purpose of teaching us the difference in the temper of the two schools.

SECTION XXXVI. I have called the sculpture on the Fig-tree angle the principal one; because it is at the central bend of the palace, where it turns to the Piazetta (the facade upon the Piazetta being, as we saw above, the more important one in ancient times). The great capital, which sustains this Fig-tree angle, is also by far more elaborate than the head of the pilaster under the Vine angle, marking the preeminence of the former in the architect's mind. It is impossible to say which was first executed, but that of the Fig-tree angle is somewhat rougher in execution, and more stiff in the design of the figures, so that I rather suppose it to have been the earliest completed.

SECTION XXXVII. In both the subjects, of the Fall and the Drunkenness, the tree, which forms the chiefly decorative portion of the sculpture,--fig in the one case, vine in the other,--was a necessary adjunct. Its trunk, in both sculptures, forms the true outer angle of the palace; boldly cut separate from the stonework behind, and branching out above the figures so as to enwrap each side of the angle, for several feet, with its deep foliage. Nothing can be more masterly or superb than the sweep of this foliage on the Fig-tree angle; the broad leaves lapping round the budding fruit, and sheltering from sight, beneath their shadows, birds of the most graceful form and delicate plumage. The branches are, however, so strong, and the masses of stone hewn into leafage so large, that, notwithstanding the depth of the undercutting, the work remains nearly uninjured; not so at the Vine angle, where the natural delicacy of the vine-leaf and tendril having tempted the sculptor to greater effort, he has passed the proper limits of his art, and cut the upper stems so delicately that half of them have been broken away by the casualties to which the situation of the sculpture necessarily exposes it. What remains is, however, so interesting in its extreme refinement, that I have chosen it for the subject of the first illustration (Footnote: See note at end of this chapter.) rather than the nobler masses of the fig-tree, which ought to be rendered on a larger scale. Although half of the beauty of the composition is destroyed by the breaking away of its central masses, there is still enough in the distribution of the variously bending leaves, and in the placing of the birds on the lighter branches, to prove to us the power of the designer. I have already referred to this Plate as a remarkable instance of the Gothic Naturalism; and, indeed, it is almost impossible for the copying of nature to be carried farther than in the fibres of the marble branches, and the careful finishing of the tendrils: note especially the peculiar expression of the knotty joints of the vine in the light branch which rises highest. Yet only half the finish of the work can be seen in the Plate: for, in several cases, the sculptor has shown the under sides of the leaves turned boldly to the light, and has literally _carved every rib and vein upon them, in relief_; not merely the main ribs which sustain the lobes of the leaf, and actually project in nature, but the irregular and sinuous veins which chequer the membranous tissues between them, and which the sculptor has represented conventionally as relieved like the others, in order to give the vine leaf its peculiar tessellated effect upon the eye.

SECTION XXXVIII. As must always be the case in early sculpture, the figures are much inferior to the leafage; yet so skilful in many respects, that it was a long time before I could persuade myself that they had indeed been wrought in the first half of the fourteenth century. Fortunately, the date is inscribed upon a monument in the Church of San Simeon Grande, bearing a recumbent statue of the saint, of far finer workmanship, in every respect, than those figures of the Ducal Palace, yet so like them, that I think there can be no question that the head of Noah was wrought by the sculptor of the palace in emulation of that of the statue of St. Simeon. In this latter sculpture, the face is represented in death; the mouth partly open, the lips thin and sharp, the teeth carefully sculptured beneath; the face full of quietness and majesty, though very ghastly; the hair and beard flowing in luxuriant wreaths, disposed with the most masterly freedom, yet severity, of design, far down upon the shoulders; the hands crossed upon the body, carefully studied, and the veins and sinews perfectly and easily expressed, yet without any attempt at extreme finish or display of technical skill. This monument bears date 1317, (Footnote: "IN XRI--NOIE AMEN ANNINCARNATIONIS MCCCXVII. INESETBR." "In the name of Christ, Amen, in the year of the incarnation, 1317, in the month of September," &c.) and its sculptor was justly proud of it; thus recording his name:


SECTION XXXIX. The head of the Noah on the Ducal Palace, evidently worked in emulation of this statue, has the same profusion of flowing hair and beard, but wrought in smaller and harder curls; and the veins on the arms and breast are more sharply drawn, the sculptor being evidently more practised in keen and fine lines of vegetation than in those of the figure; so that, which is most remarkable in a workman of this early period, he has failed in telling his story plainly, regret and wonder being so equally marked on the features of all the three brothers that it is impossible to say which is intended for Ham. Two of the heads of the brothers are seen in the Plate; the third figure is not with the rest of the group, but set at a distance of about twelve feet, on the other side of the arch which springs from the angle capital.

SECTION XL. It may be observed, as a farther evidence of the date of the group, that, in the figures of all the three youths, the feet are protected simply by a bandage arranged in crossed folds round the ankle and lower part of the limb; a feature of dress which will be found in nearly every piece of figure sculpture in Venice, from the year 1300 to 1380, and of which the traveller may see an example within three hundred yards of this very group, in the bas-reliefs on the tomb of the Doge Andrea Dandolo (in St. Mark's), who died in 1354.

SECTION XLI. The figures of Adam and Eve, sculptured on each side of the Fig-tree angle, are more stiff than those of Noah and his sons, but are better fitted for their architectural service; and the trunk of the tree, with the angular body of the serpent writhed around it, is more nobly treated as a terminal group of lines than that of the vine.

The Renaissance sculptor of the figures of the Judgment of Solomon has very nearly copied the fig-tree from this angle, placing its trunk between the executioner and the mother, who leans forward to stay his hand. But, though the whole group is much more free in design than those of the earlier palace, and in many ways excellent in itself, so that it always strikes the eye of a careless observer more than the others, it is of immeasurably inferior spirit in the workmanship; the leaves of the tree, though far more studiously varied in flow than those of the fig-tree from which they are partially copied, have none of its truth to nature; they are ill set on the steins, bluntly defined on the edges, and their curves are not those of growing leaves, but of wrinkled drapery.

SECTION XLII. Above these three sculptures are set, in the upper arcade, the statues of the archangels Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel: their positions will be understood by reference to the lowest figure in Plate XVII., where that of Raphael above the Vine angle is seen on the right. A diminutive figure of Tobit follows at his feet, and he bears in his hand a scroll with this inscription:


i.e. Effice (quseso?) fretum, Raphael reverende, quietum. (Footnote: "Oh, venerable Raphael, make thou the gulf calm, we beseech thee." The peculiar office of the angel Raphael is, in general, according to tradition, the restraining the harmful influences of evil spirits. Sir Charles Eastlake told me, that sometimes in this office he is represented bearing the gall of the fish caught by Tobit; and reminded me of the peculiar superstitions of the Venetians respecting the raising of storms by fiends, as embodied in the well known tale of the Fisherman and St. Mark's ring.) I could not decipher the inscription on the scroll borne by the angel Michael; and the figure of Gabriel, which is by much the most beautiful feature of the Renaissance portion of the palace, has only in its hand the Annunciation lily.

SECTION XLIII. Such are the subjects of the main sculptures decorating the angles of the palace; notable, observe, for their simple expression of two feelings, the consciousness of human frailty, and the dependence upon Divine guidance and protection: this being, of course, the general purpose of the introduction of the figures of the angels; and, I imagine, intended to be more particularly conveyed by the manner in which the small figure of Tobit follows the steps of Raphael, just touching the hem of his garment. We have next to examine the course of divinity and of natural history embodied by the old sculpture in the great series of capitals which support the lower arcade of the palace; and which, being at a height of little more than eight feet above the eye, might be read, like the pages of a book, by those (the noblest men in Venice) who habitually walked beneath the shadow of this great arcade at the time of their first meeting each other for morning converse.

SECTION XLIV. We will now take the pillars of the Ducal Palace in their order. It has already been mentioned (Vol. I. Chap. I. Section XLVI.) that there are, in all, thirty-six great pillars supporting the lower story; and that these are to be counted from right to left, because then the more ancient of them come first: and that, thus arranged, the first, which is not a shaft, but a pilaster, will be the support of the Vine angle; the eighteenth will be the great shaft of the Fig-tree angle; and the thirty-sixth, that of the Judgment angle.

SECTION XLV. All their capitals, except that of the first, are octagonal, and are decorated by sixteen leaves, differently enriched in every capital, but arranged in the same way; eight of them rising to the angles, and there forming volutes; the eight others set between them, on the sides, rising half-way up the bell of the capital; there nodding forward, and showing above them, rising out of their luxuriance, the groups or single figures which we have to examine. (Footnote: I have given one of these capitals carefully already in my folio work, and hope to give most of the others in due time. It was of no use to draw them here, as the scale would have been too small to allow me to show the expression of the figures.) In some instances, the intermediate or lower leaves are reduced to eight sprays of foliage; and the capital is left dependent for its effect on the bold position of the figures. In referring to the figures on the octagonal capitals, I shall call the outer side, fronting either the Sea or the Piazzetta, the first side; and so count round from left to right; the fourth side being thus, of course, the innermost. As, however, the first five arches were walled up after the great fire, only three sides of their capitals are left visible, which we may describe as the front and the eastern and western sides of each.

SECTION XLVI. FIRST CAPITAL: i.e. of the pilaster at the Vine angle.

In front, towards the Sea. A child holding a bird before him, with its wings expanded, covering his breast.

On its eastern side. Children's heads among leaves.

On its western side. A child carrying in one hand a comb; in the other, a pair of scissors.

It appears curious, that this, the principal pilaster of the facade, should have been decorated only by these graceful grotesques, for I can hardly suppose them anything more. There may be meaning in them, but I will not venture to conjecture any, except the very plain and practical meaning conveyed by the last figure to all Venetian children, which it would be well if they would act upon. For the rest, I have seen the comb introduced in grotesque work as early as the thirteenth century, but generally for the purpose of ridiculing too great care in dressing the hair, which assuredly is not its purpose here. The children's heads are very sweet and full of life, but the eyes sharp and small.

SECTION XLVII. SECOND CAPITAL. Only three sides of the original work are left unburied by the mass of added wall. Each side has a bird, one web-footed, with a fish, one clawed, with a serpent, which opens its jaws, and darts its tongue at the bird's breast; the third pluming itself, with a feather between the mandibles of its bill. It is by far the most beautiful of the three capitals decorated with birds.

THIRD CAPITAL. Also has three sides only left. They have three heads, large, and very ill cut; one female, and crowned.

FOURTH CAPITAL. Has three children. The eastern one is defaced: the one in front holds a small bird, whose plumage is beautifully indicated, in its right hand; and with its left holds up half a walnut, showing the nut inside: the third holds a fresh fig, cut through, showing the seeds.

The hair of all the three children is differently worked: the first has luxuriant flowing hair, and a double chin; the second, light flowing hair falling in pointed locks on the forehead; the third, crisp curling hair, deep cut with drill holes.

This capital has been copied on the Renaissance side of the palace, only with such changes in the ideal of the children as the workman thought expedient and natural. It is highly interesting to compare the child of the fourteenth with the child of the fifteenth century. The early heads are full of youthful life, playful, humane, affectionate, beaming with sensation and vivacity, but with much manliness and firmness, also, not a little cunning, and some cruelty perhaps, beneath all; the features small and hard, and the eyes keen. There is the making of rough and great men in them. But the children of the fifteenth century are dull smooth-faced dunces, without a single meaning line in the fatness of their stolid cheeks; and, although, in the vulgar sense, as handsome as the other children are ugly, capable of becoming nothing but perfumed coxcombs.

FIFTH CAPITAL. Still three sides only left, bearing three half-length statues of kings; this is the first capital which bears any inscription. In front, a king with a sword in his right hand points to a handkerchief embroidered and fringed, with a head on it, carved on the cavetto of the abacus. His name is written above, "TITUS VESPASIAN IMPERATOR" (contracted IPAT.).

On eastern side, "TRAJANUS IMPERATOR." Crowned, a sword in right hand, and sceptre in left.

On western, "(OCT)AVIANUS AUGUSTUS IMPERATOR." The "OCT" is broken away. He bears a globe in his right hand, with "MUNDUS PACIS" upon it; a sceptre in his left, which I think has terminated in a human figure. He has a flowing beard, and a singularly high crown; the face is much injured, but has once been very noble in expression.

SIXTH CAPITAL. Has large male and female heads, very coarsely cut, hard, and bad.

SECTION XLVIII. SEVENTH CAPITAL. This is the first of the series which is complete; the first open arch of the lower arcade being between it and the sixth. It begins the representation of the Virtues.

_First side_. Largitas, or Liberality: always distinguished from the higher Charity. A male figure, with his lap full of money, which he pours out of his hand. The coins are plain, circular, and smooth; there is no attempt to mark device upon them. The inscription above is, "LARGITAS ME ONORAT."

In the copy of this design on the twenty-fifth capital, instead of showering out the gold from his open hand, the figure holds it in a plate or salver, introduced for the sake of disguising the direct imitation. The changes thus made in the Renaissance pillars are always injuries.

This virtue is the proper opponent of Avarice; though it does not occur in the systems of Orcagna or Giotto, being included in Charity. It was a leading virtue with Aristotle and the other ancients.

SECTION XLIX. _Second side_. Constancy; not very characteristic. An armed man with a sword in his hand, inscribed, "CONSTANTIA SUM, NIL TIMENS."

This virtue is one of the forms of fortitude, and Giotto therefore sets as the vice opponent to Fortitude, "Inconstantia," represented as a woman in loose drapery, falling from a rolling globe. The vision seen in the interpreter's house in the Pilgrim's Progress, of the man with a very bold countenance, who says to him who has the writer's ink-horn by his side, "Set down my name," is the best personification of the Venetian "Constantia" of which I am aware in literature. It would be well for us all to consider whether we have yet given the order to the man with the ink-horn, "Set down my name."

SECTION L. _Third side_. Discord; holding up her finger, but needing the inscription above to assure us of her meaning, "DISCORDIA SUM, DISCORDIANS." In the Renaissance copy she is a meek and nun-like person with a veil.

She is the Ate of Spencer; "mother of debate," thus described in the fourth book:

"Her face most fowle and filthy was to see,
With squinted eyes contrarie wayes intended;
And loathly mouth, unmeete a mouth to bee,
That nought but gall and venim comprehended,
And wicked wordes that God and man offended:
Her lying tongue was in two parts divided,
And both the parts did speake, and both contended;
And as her tongue, so was her hart discided,
That never thoght one thing, but doubly stil was guided."

Note the fine old meaning of "discided," cut in two; it is a great pity we have lost this powerful expression. We might keep "determined" for the other sense of the word.

SECTION LI. _Fourth side_. Patience. A female figure, very expressive and lovely, in a hood, with her right hand on her breast, the left extended, inscribed "PATIENTIA MANET MECUM."

She is one of the principal virtues in all the Christian systems: a masculine virtue in Spenser, and beautifully placed as the _PHYSICIAN in the House of Holinesse. The opponent vice, Impatience, is one of the hags who attend the Captain of the Lusts of the Flesh; the other being Impotence. In like manner, in the "Pilgrim's Progress," the opposite of Patience is Passion; but Spenser's thought is farther carried. His two hags, Impatience and Impotence, as attendant upon the evil spirit of Passion, embrace all the phenomena of human conduct, down even to the smallest matters, according to the adage, "More haste, worse speed."

SECTION LII. _Fifth side_. Despair. A female figure thrusting a dagger into her throat, and tearing her long hair, which flows down among the leaves of the capital below her knees. One of the finest figures of the series; inscribed "DESPERACIO MOS (mortis?) CRUDELIS." In the Renaissance copy she is totally devoid of expression, and appears, instead of tearing her hair, to be dividing it into long curls on each side.

This vice is the proper opposite of Hope. By Giotto she is represented as a woman hanging herself, a fiend coming for her soul. Spenser's vision of Despair is well known, it being indeed currently reported that this part of the Faerie Queen was the first which drew to it the attention of Sir Philip Sidney.

SECTION LIII. _Sixth side_. Obedience: with her arms folded; meek, but rude and commonplace, looking at a little dog standing on its hind legs and begging, with a collar round its neck. Inscribed "OBEDIENTI * *;" the rest of the sentence is much defaced, but looks like "A'ONOEXIBEO."

I suppose the note of contraction above the final A has disappeared and that the inscription was "Obedientiam domino exhibeo."

This virtue is, of course, a principal one in the monkish systems; represented by Giotto at Assisi as "an angel robed in black, placing the finger of his left hand on his mouth, and passing the yoke over the head of a Franciscan monk kneeling at his feet." (Footnote: Lord Lindsay, vol. ii. p. 226.)

Obedience holds a less principal place in Spenser. We have seen her above associated with the other peculiar virtues of womanhood.

SECTION LIV. _Seventh side_. Infidelity. A man in a turban, with a small image in his hand, or the image of a child. Of the inscription nothing but "INFIDELITATE * * *" and some fragmentary letters, "ILI, CERO," remain.

By Giotto Infidelity is most nobly symbolized as a woman helmeted, the helmet having a broad rim which keeps the light from her eyes. She is covered with heavy drapery, stands infirmly as if about to fall, _is bound by a cord round her neck to an image which she carries in her hand, and has flames bursting forth at her feet.

In Spenser, Infidelity is the Saracen knight Sans Foy,--

"Full large of limbe and every joint
He was, and cared not for God or man a point."

For the part which he sustains in the contest with Godly Fear, or the Red-cross knight, see Appendix 2, Vol. III.

SECTION LV. _Eighth side_. Modesty; bearing a pitcher. (In the Renaissance copy, a vase like a coffeepot.) Inscribed "MODESTIA ROBUOBTINEO."

I do not find this virtue in any of the Italian series, except that of Venice. In Spenser she is of course one of those attendant on Womanhood, but occurs as one of the tenants of the Heart of Man, thus portrayed in the second book:

"Straunge was her tyre, and all her garment blew,
Close rownd about her tuckt with many a plight:
Upon her fist the bird which shonneth vew.

* * * * *

And ever and anone with rosy red
The bashfull blood her snowy cheekes did dye,
That her became, as polisht yvory
Which cunning craftesman hand hath overlayd
With fayre vermilion or pure castory."

SECTION LVI. EIGHTH CAPITAL. It has no inscriptions, and its subjects are not, by themselves, intelligible; but they appear to be typical of the degradation of human instincts.

_First side_. A caricature of Arion on his dolphin; he wears a cap ending in a long proboscis-like horn, and plays a violin with a curious twitch of the bow and wag of the head, very graphically expressed, but still without anything approaching to the power of Northern grotesque. His dolphin has a goodly row of teeth, and the waves beat over his back.

_Second side_. A human figure, with curly hair and the legs of a bear; the paws laid, with great sculptural skill, upon the foliage. It plays a violin, shaped like a guitar, with a bent double-stringed bow.

_Third side_. A figure with a serpent's tail and a monstrous head, founded on a Negro type, hollow-cheeked, large-lipped, and wearing a cap made of a serpent's skin, holding a fir-cone in its hand.

_Fourth side_. A monstrous figure, terminating below in a tortoise. It is devouring a gourd, which it grasps greedily with both hands; it wears a cap ending in a hoofed leg.

_Fifth side_. A centaur wearing a crested helmet, and holding a curved sword.

_Sixth side_. A knight, riding a headless horse, and wearing a chain armor, with a triangular shield flung behind his back, and a two-edged sword.

_Seventh side_. A figure like that on the fifth, wearing a round helmet, and with the legs and tail of a horse. He bears a long mace with a top like a fir-cone.

_Eighth side_. A figure with curly hair, and an acorn in its hand, ending below in a fish.

SECTION LVII. NINTH CAPITAL. _First side_. Faith. She has her left hand on her breast, and the cross on her right. Inscribed "FIDES OPTIMA IN DEO." The Faith of Giotto holds the cross in her right hand; in her left, a scroll with the Apostles' Creed. She treads upon cabalistic books, and has a key suspended to her waist. Spenser's Faith (Fidelia) is still more spiritual and noble:

"She was araied all in lilly white,
And in her right hand bore a cup of gold,
With wine and water fild up to the hight,
In which a serpent did himselfe enfold,
That horrour made to all that did behold;
But she no whitt did chaunge her constant mood:
And in her other hand she fast did hold
A booke, that was both signd and seald with blood;
Wherein darke things were writt, hard to be understood."

SECTION LVIII. _Second side_. Fortitude. A long-bearded man (Samson?) tearing open a lion's jaw. The inscription is illegible, and the somewhat vulgar personification appears to belong rather to Courage than Fortitude. On the Renaissance copy it is inscribed "FORTITUDO SUM VIRILIS." The Latin word has, perhaps, been received by the sculptor as merely signifying "Strength," the rest of the perfect idea of this virtue having been given in "Constantia" previously. But both these Venetian symbols together do not at all approach the idea of Fortitude as given generally by Giotto and the Pisan sculptors; clothed with a lion's skin, knotted about her neck, and falling to her feet in deep folds; drawing back her right hand, with the sword pointed towards her enemy; and slightly retired behind her immovable shield, which, with Giotto, is square, and rested on the ground like a tower, covering her up to above her shoulders; bearing on it a lion, and with broken heads of javelins deeply infixed.

Among the Greeks, this is, of course, one of the principal virtues; apt, however, in their ordinary conception of it to degenerate into mere manliness or courage.

SECTION LIX. _Third side_. Temperance; bearing a pitcher of water and a cup. Inscription, illegible here, and on the Renaissance copy nearly so, "TEMPERANTIA SUM" (INOM' L'S)? Only left. In this somewhat vulgar and most frequent conception of this virtue (afterwards continually repeated, as by Sir Joshua in his window at New-College) temperance is confused with mere abstinence, the opposite of Gula, or gluttony; whereas the Greek Temperance, a truly cardinal virtue, is the moderator of _all the passions, and so represented by Giotto, who has placed a bridle upon her lips, and a sword in her hand, the hilt of which she is binding to the scabbard. In his system, she is opposed among the vices, not by Gula or Gluttony, but by Ira, Anger. So also the Temperance of Spenser, or Sir Guyon, but with mingling of much sternness:

"A goodly knight, all armd in harnesse meete,
That from his head no place appeared to his feete,
His carriage was full comely and upright;
His countenance demure and temperate;
But yett so sterne and terrible in sight,
That cheard his friendes, and did his foes amate."

The Temperance of the Greeks, (Greek: sophrosunae) involves the idea of Prudence, and is a most noble virtue, yet properly marked by Plato as inferior to sacred enthusiasm, though necessary for its government. He opposes it, under the name "Mortal Temperance" or "the Temperance which is of men," to divine madness, (Greek: mania,) or inspiration; but he most justly and nobly expresses the general idea of it under the term (Greek: ubris), which, in the "Phaedrus," is divided into various intemperances with respect to various objects, and set forth under the image of a black, vicious, diseased and furious horse, yoked by the side of Prudence or Wisdom (set forth under the figure of a white horse with a crested and noble head, like that which we have among the Elgin Marbles) to the chariot of the Soul. The system of Aristotle, as above stated, is throughout a mere complicated blunder, supported by sophistry, the laboriously developed mistake of Temperance for the essence of the virtues which it guides. Temperance in the mediaeval systems is generally opposed by Anger, or by Folly, or Gluttony: but her proper opposite is Spenser's Acrasia, the principal enemy of Sir Guyon, at whose gates we find the subordinate vice "Excesse," as the introduction to Intemperance; a graceful and feminine image, necessary to illustrate the more dangerous forms of subtle intemperance, as opposed to the brutal "Gluttony" in the first book. She presses grapes into a cup, because of the words of St. Paul, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess;" but always delicately,

"Into her cup she scruzd with daintie breach
Of her fine fingers, without fowle empeach,
That so faire winepresse made the wine more sweet."

The reader will, I trust, pardon these frequent extracts from Spenser, for it is nearly as necessary to point out the profound divinity and philosophy of our great English poet, as the beauty of the Ducal Palace.

SECTION LX. _Fourth side_. Humility; with a veil upon her head, carrying a lamp in her lap. Inscribed in the copy, "HUMILITAS HABITAT IN ME."

This virtue is of course a peculiarly Christian one, hardly recognized in the Pagan systems, though carefully impressed upon the Greeks in early life in a manner which at this day it would be well if we were to imitate, and, together with an almost feminine modesty, giving an exquisite grace to the conduct and bearing of the well-educated Greek youth. It is, of course, one of the leading virtues in all the monkish systems, but I have not any notes of the manner of its representation.

SECTION LXI. _Fifth side_. Charity. A woman with her lap full of loaves (?), giving one to a child, who stretches his arm out for it across a broad gap in the leafage of the capital.

Again very far inferior to the Giottesque rendering of this virtue. In the Arena Chapel she is distinguished from all the other virtues by having a circular glory round her head, and a cross of fire; she is crowned with flowers, presents with her right hand a vase of corn and fruit, and with her left receives treasure from Christ, who appears above her, to provide her with the means of continual offices of beneficence, while she tramples under foot the treasures of the earth.

The peculiar beauty of most of the Italian conceptions of Charity, is in the subjection of mere munificence to the glowing of her love, always represented by flames; here in the form of a cross round her head; in Orcagna's shrine at Florence, issuing from a censer in her hand; and, with Dante, inflaming her whole form, so that, in a furnace of clear fire, she could not have been discerned.

Spenser represents her as a mother surrounded by happy children, an idea afterwards grievously hackneyed and vulgarized by English painters and sculptors.

SECTION LXII. _Sixth side_. Justice. Crowned, and with sword. Inscribed in the copy, "REX SUM JUSTICIE."

This idea was afterwards much amplified and adorned in the only good capital of the Renaissance series, under the Judgment angle. Giotto has also given his whole strength to the painting of this virtue, representing her as enthroned under a noble Gothic canopy, holding scales, not by the beam, but one in each hand; a beautiful idea, showing that the equality of the scales of Justice is not owing to natural laws, but to her own immediate weighing the opposed causes in her own hands. In one scale is an executioner beheading a criminal; in the other an angel crowning a man who seems (in Selvatico's plate) to have been working at a desk or table.

Beneath her feet is a small predella, representing various persons riding securely in the woods, and others dancing to the sound of music.

Spenser's Justice, Sir Artegall, is the hero of an entire book, and the betrothed knight of Britomart, or chastity.

SECTION LXIII. _Seventh side_. Prudence. A man with a book and a pair of compasses, wearing the noble cap, hanging down towards the shoulder, and bound in a fillet round the brow, which occurs so frequently during the fourteenth century in Italy in the portraits of men occupied in any civil capacity.

This virtue is, as we have seen, conceived under very different degrees of dignity, from mere worldly prudence up to heavenly wisdom, being opposed sometimes by Stultitia, sometimes by Ignorantia. I do not find, in any of the representations of her, that her truly distinctive character, namely, _forethought_, is enough insisted upon: Giotto expresses her vigilance and just measurement or estimate of all things by painting her as Janus-headed, and gazing into a convex mirror, with compasses in her right hand; the convex mirror showing her power of looking at many things in small compass. But forethought or anticipation, by which, independently of greater or less natural capacities, one man becomes more _prudent than another, is never enough considered or symbolized.

The idea of this virtue oscillates, in the Greek systems, between Temperance and Heavenly Wisdom.

SECTION LXIV. _Eighth side_. Hope. A figure full of devotional expression, holding up its hands as in prayer, and looking to a hand which is extended towards it out of sunbeams. In the Renaissance copy this hand does not appear.

Of all the virtues, this is the most distinctively Christian (it could not, of course, enter definitely into any Pagan scheme); and above all others, it seems to me the _testing virtue,--that by the possession of which we may most certainly determine whether we are Christians or not; for many men have charity, that is to say, general kindness of heart, or even a kind of faith, who have not any habitual _hope of, or longing for, heaven. The Hope of Giotto is represented as winged, rising in the air, while an angel holds a crown before her. I do not know if Spenser was the first to introduce our marine virtue, leaning on an anchor, a symbol as inaccurate as it is vulgar: for, in the first place, anchors are not for men, but for ships; and in the second, anchorage is the characteristic not of Hope, but of Faith. Faith is dependent, but Hope is aspirant. Spenser, however, introduces Hope twice,--the first time as the Virtue with the anchor; but afterwards fallacious Hope, far more beautifully, in the Masque of Cupid:

"She always smyld, and in her hand did hold
An holy-water sprinckle, dipt in deowe."

SECTION LXV. TENTH CAPITAL. _First side_. Luxury (the opposite of chastity, as above explained). A woman with a jewelled chain across her forehead, smiling as she looks into a mirror, exposing her breast by drawing down her dress with one hand. Inscribed "LUXURIA SUM IMENSA."

These subordinate forms of vice are not met with so frequently in art as those of the opposite virtues, but in Spenser we find them all. His Luxury rides upon a goat:

"In a greene gowne he clothed was full faire,
Which underneath did hide his filthinesse,
And in his hand a burning heart he bare."

But, in fact, the proper and comprehensive expression of this vice is the Cupid of the ancients; and there is not any minor circumstance more indicative of the _intense difference between the mediaeval and the Renaissance spirit, than the mode in which this god is represented.

I have above said, that all great European art is rooted in the thirteenth century; and it seems to me that there is a kind of central year about which we may consider the energy of the middle ages to be gathered; a kind of focus of time which, by what is to my mind a most touching and impressive Divine appointment, has been marked for us by the greatest writer of the middle ages, in the first words he utters; namely, the year 1300, the "mezzo del cammin" of the life of Dante. Now, therefore, to Giotto, the contemporary of Dante, and who drew Dante's still existing portrait in this very year, 1300, we may always look for the central mediaeval idea in any subject: and observe how he represents Cupid; as one of three, a terrible trinity, his companions being Satan and Death; and he himself "a lean scarecrow, with bow, quiver, and fillet, and feet ending in claws," (Footnote: Lord Lindsay, vol. ii. letter iv.) thrust down into Hell by Penance, from the presence of Purity and Fortitude. Spenser, who has been so often noticed as furnishing the exactly intermediate type of conception between the mediaeval and the Renaissance, indeed represents Cupid under the form of a beautiful winged god, and riding on a lion, but still no plaything of the Graces, but full of terror:

"With that the darts which his right hand did straine
Full dreadfully he shooke, that all did quake,
And clapt on hye his coloured winges twaine,
That all his many it afraide did make."

His many, that is to say, his company; and observe what a company it is. Before him go Fancy, Desire, Doubt, Danger, Fear, Fallacious Hope, Dissemblance, Suspicion, Grief, Fury, Displeasure, Despite, and Cruelty. After him, Reproach, Repentance, Shame,

"Unquiet Care, and fond Unthriftyhead,
Lewd Losse of Time, and Sorrow seeming dead,
Inconstant Chaunge, and false Disloyalty,
Consuming Riotise, and guilty Dread
Of heavenly vengeaunce; faint Infirmity,
Vile Poverty, and lastly Death with infamy."

Compare these two pictures of Cupid with the Love-god of the Renaissance, as he is represented to this day, confused with angels, in every faded form of ornament and allegory, in our furniture, our literature, and our minds.

SECTION LXVI. _Second side_. Gluttony. A woman in a turban, with a jewelled cup in her right hand. In her left, the clawed limb of a bird, which she is gnawing. Inscribed "GULA SINE ORDINE SUM."

Spenser's Gluttony is more than usually fine:

"His belly was upblownt with luxury,
And eke with fatnesse swollen were his eyne,
And like a crane his necke was long and fyne,
Wherewith he swallowed up excessive feast,
For want whereof poore people oft did pyne."

He rides upon a swine, and is clad in vine-leaves, with a garland of ivy. Compare the account of Excesse, above, as opposed to Temperance.

SECTION LXVII. _Third side_. Pride. A knight, with a heavy and stupid face, holding a sword with three edges: his armor covered with ornaments in the form of roses, and with two ears attached to his helmet. The inscription indecipherable, all but "SUPERBIA."

Spenser has analyzed this vice with great care. He first represents it as the Pride of life; that is to say, the pride which runs in a deep under-current through all the thoughts and acts of men. As such, it is a feminine vice, directly opposed to Holiness, and mistress of a castle called the House of Pryde, and her chariot is driven by Satan, with a team of beasts, ridden by the mortal sins. In the throne chamber of her palace she is thus described:

"So proud she shyned in her princely state,
Looking to Heaven, for Earth she did disdayne;
And sitting high, for lowly she did hate:
Lo, underneath her scornefull feete was layne
A dreadfull dragon with an hideous trayne;
And in her hand she held a mirrhour bright,
Wherein her face she often vewed fayne."

The giant Orgoglio is a baser species of pride, born of the Earth and Eolus; that is to say, of sensual and vain conceits. His foster-father and the keeper of his castle is Ignorance. (Book I. canto viii.)

Finally, Disdain is introduced, in other places, as the form of pride which vents itself in insult to others.

SECTION LXVIII. _Fourth side_. Anger. A woman tearing her dress open at her breast. Inscription here undecipherable; but in the Renaissance Copy it IS "IRA CRUDELIS EST IN ME."

Giotto represents this vice under the same symbol; but it is the weakest of all the figures in the Arena Chapel. The "Wrath" of Spenser rides upon a lion, brandishing a firebrand, his garments stained with blood. Rage, or Furor, occurs subordinately in other places. It appears to me very strange that neither Giotto nor Spenser should have given any representation of the _restrained Anger, which is infinitely the most terrible; both of them make him violent.

SECTION LXIX. _Fifth side_. Avarice. An old woman with a veil over her forehead, and a bag of money in each hand. A figure very marvellous for power of expression. The throat is all made up of sinews with skinny channels deep between them, strained as by anxiety, and wasted by famine; the features hunger-bitten, the eyes hollow, the look glaring and intense, yet without the slightest caricature. Inscribed in the Renaissance copy, "AVARITIA IMPLETOR."

Spenser's Avarice (the vice) is much feebler than this; but the god Mammon and his kingdom have been described by him with his usual power. Note the position of the house of Richesse:

"Betwixt them both was but a little stride,
That did the House of Richesse from Hell-mouth divide."

It is curious that most moralists confuse avarice with covetousness, although they are vices totally different in their operation on the human heart, and on the frame of society. The love of money, the sin of Judas and Ananias, is indeed the root of all evil in the hardening of the heart; but "covetousness, which is idolatry," the sin of Ahab, that is, the inordinate desire of some seen or recognized good,--thus destroying peace of mind,--is probably productive of much more misery in heart, and error in conduct, than avarice itself, only covetousness is not so inconsistent with Christianity: for covetousness may partly proceed from vividness of the affections and hopes, as in David, and be consistent with much charity; not so avarice.

SECTION LXX. _Sixth side_. Idleness. Accidia. A figure much broken away, having had its arms round two branches of trees.

I do not know why Idleness should be represented as among trees, unless, in the Italy of the fourteenth century, forest country was considered as desert, and therefore the domain of Idleness. Spenser fastens this vice especially upon the clergy,--

"Upon a slouthfull asse he chose to ryde,
Arayd in habit blacke, and amis thin,
Like to an holy monck, the service to begin.
And in his hand his portesse still he bare,
That much was worne, but therein little redd."

And he properly makes him the leader of the train of the vices:

"May seem the wayne was very evil ledd,
When such an one had guiding of the way."

Observe that subtle touch of truth in the "wearing" of the portesse, indicating the abuse of books by idle readers, so thoroughly characteristic of unwilling studentship from the schoolboy upwards.

SECTION LXXI. _Seventh side_. Vanity. She is smiling complacently as she looks into a mirror in her lap. Her robe is embroidered with roses, and roses form her crown. Undecipherable.

There is some confusion in the expression of this vice, between pride in the personal appearance and lightness of purpose. The word Vanitas generally, I think, bears, in the mediaeval period, the sense given it in Scripture. "Let not him that is deceived trust in Vanity, for Vanity shall be his recompense." "Vanity of Vanities." "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain." It is difficult to find this sin,--which, after Pride, is the most universal, perhaps the most fatal, of all, fretting the whole depth of our humanity into storm "to waft a feather or to drown a fly,"--definitely expressed in art. Even Spenser, I think, has only partially expressed it under the figure of Phaedria, more properly Idle Mirth, in the second book. The idea is, however, entirely worked out in the Vanity Fair of the "Pilgrim's Progress."

SECTION LXXII. _Eighth side_. Envy. One of the noblest pieces of expression in the series. She is pointing malignantly with her finger; a serpent is wreathed about her head like a cap, another forms the girdle of her waist, and a dragon rests in her lap.

Giotto has, however, represented her, with still greater subtlety, as having her fingers terminating in claws, and raising her right hand with an expression partly of impotent regret, partly of involuntary grasping; a serpent, issuing from her mouth, is about to bite her between the eyes; she has long membranous ears, horns on her head, and flames consuming her body. The Envy of Spenser is only inferior to that of Giotto, because the idea of folly and quickness of hearing is not suggested by the size of the ear: in other respects it is even finer, joining the idea of fury, in the wolf on which he rides, with that of corruption on his lips, and of discoloration or distortion in the whole mind:

"Malicious Envy rode
Upon a ravenous wolfe, and still did chaw
Between his cankred teeth avenemous tode
That all the poison ran about his jaw.
_And in a kirtle of discolourd say
He clothed was, ypaynted full of eies_,
And in his bosome secretly there lay
An hatefull snake, the which his taile uptyes
In many folds, and mortali sting implyes."

He has developed the idea in more detail, and still more loathsomely, in the twelfth canto of the fifth book.

SECTION LXXIII. ELEVENTH CAPITAL. Its decoration is composed of eight birds, arranged as shown in Plate V. of the "Seven Lamps," which, however, was sketched from the Renaissance copy. These birds are all varied in form and action, but not so as to require special description.

SECTION LXXIV. TWELFTH CAPITAL. This has been very interesting, but is grievously defaced, four of its figures being entirely broken away, and the character of two others quite undecipherable. It is fortunate that it has been copied in the thirty-third capital of the Renaissance series, from which we are able to identify the lost figures.

_First side_. Misery. A man with a wan face, seemingly pleading with a child who has its hands crossed on its breast. There is a buckle at his own breast in the shape of a cloven heart. Inscribed "MISERIA."

The intention of this figure is not altogether apparent, as it is by no means treated as a vice; the distress seeming real, and like that of a parent in poverty mourning over his child. Yet it seems placed here as in direct opposition to the virtue of Cheerfulness, which follows next in order; rather, however, I believe, with the intention of illustrating human life, than the character of the vice which, as we have seen, Dante placed in the circle of hell. The word in that case would, I think, have been "Tristitia," the "unholy Griefe" of Spenser--

"All in sable sorrowfully clad,
Downe hanging his dull head with heavy chere:

* * * * *

A pair of pincers in his hand he had,
With which he pinched people to the heart."

He has farther amplified the idea under another figure in the fifth canto of the fourth book:

"His name was Care; a blacksmith by his trade,
That neither day nor night from working spared;
But to small purpose yron wedges made:
Those be unquiet thoughts that carefull minds invade.

Rude was his garment, and to rags all rent,
Ne better had he, ne for better cared;
With blistered hands among the cinders brent."

It is to be noticed, however, that in the Renaissance copy this figure is stated to be, not Miseria, but "Misericordia." The contraction is a very moderate one, Misericordia being in old MS. written always as "Mia." If this reading be right, the figure is placed here rather as the companion, than the opposite, of Cheerfulness; unless, indeed, it is intended to unite the idea of Mercy and Compassion with that of Sacred Sorrow.

SECTION LXXV. _Second side_. Cheerfulness. A woman with long flowing hair, crowned with roses, playing on a tambourine, and with open lips, as singing. Inscribed "ALACRITAS."

We have already met with this virtue among those especially set by Spenser to attend on Womanhood. It is inscribed in the Renaissance Copy, "ALACHRITAS CHANIT MECUM." Note the gutturals of the rich and fully developed Venetian dialect now affecting the Latin, which is free from them in the earlier capitals.

SECTION LXXVI. _Third side_. Destroyed; but, from the copy, we find it has been Stultitia, Folly; and it is there represented simply as a man _riding_, a sculpture worth the consideration of the English residents who bring their horses to Venice. Giotto gives Stultitia a feather, cap, and club. In early manuscripts he is always eating with one hand, and striking with the other; in later ones he has a cap and bells, or cap crested with a cock's head, whence the word "coxcomb."

SECTION LXXVII. _Fourth side_. Destroyed, all but a book, which identifies it with the "Celestial Chastity" of the Renaissance copy; there represented as a woman pointing to a book (connecting the convent life with the pursuit of literature?).

Spenser's Chastity, Britomart, is the most exquisitely wrought of all his characters; but, as before noticed, she is not the Chastity of the convent, but of wedded life.

SECTION LXXVIII. _Fifth side_. Only a scroll is left; but, from the copy, we find it has been Honesty or Truth. Inscribed "HONESTATEM DILIGO." It is very curious, that among all the Christian systems of the virtues which we have examined, we should find this one in Venice only.

The Truth of Spenser, Una, is, after Chastity, the most exquisite character in the "Faerie Queen."

SECTION LXXIX. _Sixth side_. Falsehood. An old woman leaning on a crutch; and inscribed in the copy, "FALSITAS IN ME SEMPER EST." The Fidessa of Spenser, the great enemy of Una, or Truth, is far more subtly conceived, probably not without special reference to the Papal deceits. In her true form she is a loathsome hag, but in her outward aspect,

"A goodly lady, clad in scarlet red,
Purfled with gold and pearle;...
Her wanton palfrey all was overspred.
With tinsell trappings, woven like a wave,
Whose bridle rung with golden bels and bosses brave."

Dante's Fraud, Geryon, is the finest personification of all, but the description (Inferno, canto XVII.) is too long to be quoted.

SECTION LXXX. _Seventh side_. Injustice. An armed figure holding a halbert; so also in the copy. The figure used by Giotto with the particular intention of representing unjust government, is represented at the gate of an embattled castle in a forest, between rocks, while various deeds of violence are committed at his feet. Spenser's "Adicia" is a furious hag, at last transformed into a tiger.

_Eighth side_. A man with a dagger looking sorrowfully at a child, who turns its back to him. I cannot understand this figure. It is inscribed in the copy, "ASTINECIA (Abstinentia?) OPITIMA?"

SECTION LXXXI. THIRTEENTH CAPITAL. It has lions' heads all round, coarsely cut.

FOURTEENTH CAPITAL. It has various animals, each sitting on its haunches. Three dogs, One a greyhound, one long-haired, one short-haired with bells about its neck; two monkeys, one with fan-shaped hair projecting on each side of its face; a noble boar, with its tusks, hoofs, and bristles sharply cut; and a lion and lioness.

SECTION LXXXII. FIFTEENTH CAPITAL. The pillar to which it belongs is thicker than the rest, as well as the one over it in the upper arcade.

The sculpture of this capital is also much coarser, and seems to me later than that of the rest; and it has no inscription, which is embarrassing, as its subjects have had much meaning; but I believe Selvatico is right in supposing it to have been intended for a general illustration of Idleness.

_First side_. A woman with a distaff; her girdle richly decorated, and fastened by a buckle.

_Second side_. A youth in a long mantle, with a rose in his hand.

_Third side_. A woman in a turban stroking a puppy, which she holds by the haunches.

_Fourth side_. A man with a parrot.

_Fifth side_. A woman in very rich costume, with braided hair, and dress thrown into minute folds, holding a rosary (?) in her left hand, her right on her breast.

_Sixth side_. A man with a very thoughtful face, laying his hand upon the leaves of the capital.

_Seventh side_. A crowned lady, with a rose in her hand.

_Eighth side_. A boy with a ball in his left hand, and his right laid on his breast.

SECTION LXXXIII. SIXTEENTH CAPITAL. It is decorated with eight large heads, partly intended to be grotesque, (Footnote: Selvatico states that these are intended to be representative of eight nations, Latins, Tartars, Turks, Hungarians, Greeks, Goths, Egyptians, and Persians. Either the inscriptions are now defaced or I have carelessly omitted to note them.) and very coarse and bad, except only that in the sixth side, which is totally different from all the rest, and looks like a portrait. It is thin, thoughtful, and dignified; thoroughly fine in every way. It wears a cap surmounted by two winged lions; and, therefore, I think Selvatico must have inaccurately written the list given in the note, for this head is certainly meant to express the superiority of the Venetian character over that of other nations. Nothing is more remarkable in all early sculpture, than its appreciation of the signs of dignity of character in the features, and the way in which it can exalt the principal figure in any subject by a few touches.

SECTION LXXXIV. SEVENTEENTH CAPITAL. This has been so destroyed by the sea wind, which sweeps at this point of the arcade round the angle of the palace, that its inscriptions are no longer legible, and great part of its figures are gone. Selvatico states them as follows: Solomon, the wise; Priscian, the grammarian; Aristotle, the logician; Tully, the orator; Pythagoras, the philosopher; Archimedes, the mechanic; Orpheus, the musician; Ptolemy, the astronomer. The fragments actually remaining are the following:

_First side_. A figure with two books, in a robe richly decorated with circles of roses. Inscribed "SALOMON (SAP) IENS."

_Second side_. A man with one book, poring over it: he has had a long stick or reed in his hand. Of inscription only the letters "GRAMMATIC" remain.

_Third side_. "ARISTOTLE:" so inscribed. He has a peaked double beard and a flat cap, from under which his long hair falls down his back.

_Fourth side_. Destroyed.

_Fifth side_. Destroyed, all but a board with, three (counters?) on it.

_Sixth side_. A figure with compasses. Inscribed "GEOMET * *"

_Seventh side_. Nothing is left but a guitar with its handle wrought into a lion's head.

_Eighth side_. Destroyed.

SECTION LXXXV. We have now arrived at the EIGHTEENTH CAPITAL, the most interesting and beautiful of the palace. It represents the planets, and the sun and moon, in those divisions of the zodiac known to astrologers as their "houses;" and perhaps indicates, by the position in which they are placed, the period of the year at which this great corner-stone was laid. The inscriptions above have been in quaint Latin rhyme, but are now decipherable only in fragments, and that with the more difficulty because the rusty iron bar that binds the abacus has broken away, in its expansion, nearly all the upper portions of the stone, and with them the signs of contraction, which are of great importance. I shall give the fragments of them that I could decipher; first as the letters actually stand (putting those of which I am doubtful in brackets, with a note of interrogation), and then as I would read them.

SECTION LXXXVI. It should be premised that, in modern astrology, the houses of the planets are thus arranged:

The house of the Sun, is Leo.
" Moon, " Cancer.
" Mars, " Aries and Scorpio.
" Venus, " Taurus and Libra.
" Mercury, " Gemini and Virgo.
" Jupiter, " Sagittarius and Pisces.
" Saturn, " Capricorn.
" Herschel, " Aquarius.

The Herschel planet being of course unknown to the old astrologers, we have only the other six planetary powers, together with the sun; and Aquarius is assigned to Saturn as his house. I could not find Capricorn at all; but this sign may have been broken away, as the whole capital is grievously defaced. The eighth side of the capital, which the Herschel planet would now have occupied, bears a sculpture of the Creation of Man: it is the most conspicuous side, the one set diagonally across the angle; or the eighth in our usual mode of reading the capitals, from which I shall not depart.

SECTION LXXXVII. _The first side_, then, or that towards the Sea, has Aquarius, as the house of Saturn, represented as a seated figure beautifully draped, pouring a stream of water out of an amphora over the leaves of the capital. His inscription is:


SECTION LXXXVIII. _Second side_. Jupiter, in his houses Sagittarius and Pisces, represented throned, with an upper dress disposed in radiating folds about his neck, and hanging down upon his breast, ornamented by small pendent trefoiled studs or bosses. He wears the drooping bonnet and long gloves; but the folds about the neck, shot forth to express the rays of the star, are the most remarkable characteristic of the figure. He raises his sceptre in his left hand over Sagittarius, represented as the centaur Chiron; and holds two thunnies in his right. Something rough, like a third fish, has been broken away below them; the more easily because this part of the group is entirely undercut, and the two fish glitter in the light, relieved on the deep gloom below the leaves. The inscription is:

"INDE JOVI' DONA PISES SIMUL ATQ' CIRONA." (Footnote: The comma in these inscriptions stands for a small cuneiform mark, I believe of contraction, and the small for a zigzag mark of the same kind. The dots or periods are similarly marked on the stone.)

"Inde Jovis dona
Pisces simul atque Chirona."

Domus is, I suppose, to be understood before Jovis: "Then the house of Jupiter gives (or governs?) the fishes and Chiron."

SECTION LXXXIX. _Third side_. Mars, in his houses Aries and Scorpio. Represented as a very ugly knight in chain mail, seated sideways on the ram, whose horns are broken away, and having a large scorpion in his left hand, whose tail is broken also, to the infinite injury of the group, for it seems to have curled across to the angle leaf, and formed a bright line of light, like the fish in the hand of Jupiter. The knight carries a shield, on which fire and water are sculptured, and bears a banner upon his lance, with the word "DEFEROSUM," which puzzled me for some time. It should be read, I believe, "De ferro sum;" which would be good _Venetian Latin for "I am of iron."

SECTION XC. _Fourth side_. The Sun, in his house Leo. Represented under the figure of Apollo, sitting on the Lion, with rays shooting from his head, and the world in his hand. The inscription:


I believe the first phrase is, "Tune est Domus solis;" but there is a letter gone after the "quo," and I have no idea what case of signum "signe" stands for.

SECTION XCI. _Fifth side_. Venus, in her houses Taurus and Libra. The most beautiful figure of the series. She sits upon the bull, who is deep in the dewlap, and better cut than most of the animals, holding a mirror in her right hand, and the scales in her left. Her breast is very nobly and tenderly indicated under the folds of her drapery, which is exquisitely studied in its fall. What is left of the inscription, runs:


SECTION XCII. _Sixth side_. Mercury, represented as wearing a pendent cap, and holding a book: he is supported by three children in reclining attitudes, representing his houses Gemini and Virgo. But I cannot understand the inscription, though more than usually legible.


SECTION XCIII. _Seventh side_. The Moon, in her house Cancer. This sculpture, which is turned towards the Piazzetta, is the most picturesque of the series. The moon is represented as a woman in a boat, upon the sea, who raises the crescent in her right hand, and with her left draws a crab out of the waves, up the boat's side. The moon was, I believe, represented in Egyptian sculptures as in a boat; but I rather think the Venetian was not aware of this, and that he meant to express the peculiar sweetness of the moonlight at Venice, as seen across the lagoons. Whether this was intended by putting the planet in the boat, may be questionable, but assuredly the idea was meant to be conveyed by the dress of the figure. For all the draperies of the other figures on this capital, as well as on the rest of the facade, are disposed in severe but full folds, showing little of the forms beneath them; but the moon's drapery _ripples down to her feet, so as exactly to suggest the trembling of the moonlight on the waves. This beautiful idea is highly characteristic of the thoughtfulness of the early sculptors: five hundred men may be now found who could have cut the drapery, as such, far better, for one who would have disposed its folds with this intention. The inscription is:


SECTION XCIV. _Eighth side_. God creating Man. Represented as a throned figure, with a glory round the head, laying his left hand on the head of a naked youth, and sustaining him with his right hand. The inscription puzzled me for a long time; but except the lost r and m of "formavit," and a letter quite undefaced, but to me unintelligble, before the word Eva, in the shape of a figure of 7, I have safely ascertained the rest.



"De limo Dominus Adam, de costa fo(rm) avit Evam;"
From the dust the Lord made Adam, and from the rib Eve.

I imagine the whole of this capital, therefore--the principal one of the old palace,--to have been intended to signify, first, the formation of the planets for the service of man upon the earth; secondly, the entire subjection of the fates and fortune of man to the will of God, as determined from the time when the earth and stars were made, and, in fact, written in the volume of the stars themselves.

Thus interpreted, the doctrines of judicial astrology were not only consistent with, but an aid to, the most spiritual and humble Christianity.

In the workmanship and grouping of its foliage, this capital is, on the whole, the finest I know in Europe. The Sculptor has put his whole strength into it. I trust that it will appear among the other Venetian casts lately taken for the Crystal Palace; but if not, I have myself cast all its figures, and two of its leaves, and I intend to give drawings of them on a large scale in my folio work.

SECTION XCV. NINETEENTH CAPITAL. This is, of course, the second counting from the Sea, on the Piazzetta side of the palace, calling that of the Fig-tree angle the first.

It is the most important capital, as a piece of evidence in point of dates, in the whole palace. Great pains have been taken with it, and in some portion of the accompanying furniture or ornaments of each of its figures a small piece of colored marble has been inlaid, with peculiar significance: for the capital represents the _arts of sculpture and architecture_; and the inlaying of the colored stones (which are far too small to be effective at a distance, and are found in this one capital only of the whole series) is merely an expression of the architect's feeling of the essential importance of this art of inlaying, and of the value of color generally in his own art.

SECTION XCVI. _First side_. "ST. SIMPLICIUS": so inscribed. A figure working with a pointed chisel on a small oblong block of green serpentine, about four inches long by one wide, inlaid in the capital. The chisel is, of course, in the left hand, but the right is held up open, with the palm outwards.

_Second side_. A crowned figure, carving the image of a child on a small statue, with a ground of red marble. The sculptured figure is highly finished, and is in type of head much like the Ham or Japheth at the Vine angle. Inscription effaced.

_Third side_. An old man, uncrowned, but with curling hair, at work on a small column, with its capital complete, and a little shaft of dark red marble, spotted with paler red. The capital is precisely of the form of that found in the palace of the Tiepolos and the other thirteenth century work of Venice. This one figure would be quite enough, without any other evidence whatever, to determine the date of this flank of the Ducal Palace as not later, at all events, than the first half of the fourteenth century. Its inscription is broken away, all but "DISIPULO."

_Fourth side_. A crowned figure; but the object on which it has been working is broken away, and all the inscription except "ST. E(N?)AS."

_Fifth side_. A man with a turban, and a sharp chisel, at work on a kind of panel or niche, the back of which is of red marble.

_Sixth side_. A crowned figure, with hammer and chisel, employed _on a little range of windows of the fifth order_, having roses set, instead of orbicular ornaments, between the spandrils with a rich cornice, and a band of marble inserted above. This sculpture assures us of the date of the fifth order window, which it shows to have been universal in the early fourteenth century.

There are also five arches in the block on which the sculptor is working, marking the frequency of the number five in the window groups of the time.

_Seventh side_. A figure at work on a pilaster, with Lombardic thirteenth century capital (for account of the series of forms in Venetian capitals, see the final Appendix of the next volume), the shaft of dark red spotted marble.

_Eighth side_. A figure with a rich open crown, working on a delicate recumbent statue, the head of which is laid on a pillow covered with a rich chequer pattern; the whole supported on a block of dark red marble. Inscription broken away, all but "ST. SYM. (Symmachus?) TV * * ANVS." There appear, therefore, altogether to have been five saints, two of them popes, if Simplicius is the pope of that name (three in front, two on the fourth and sixth sides), alternating with the three uncrowned workmen in the manual labor of sculpture. I did not, therefore, insult our present architects in saying above that they "ought to work in the mason's yard with their men." It would be difficult to find a more interesting expression of the devotional spirit in which all great work was undertaken at this time.

SECTION XCVII. TWENTIETH CAPITAL. It is adorned with heads of animals, and is the finest of the whole series in the broad massiveness of its effect; so simply characteristic, indeed, of the grandeur of style in the entire building, that I chose it for the first Plate in my folio work. In spite of the sternness of its plan, however, it is wrought with great care in surface detail; and the ornamental value of the minute chasing obtained by the delicate plumage of the birds, and the clustered bees on the honeycomb in the bear's mouth, opposed to the strong simplicity of its general form, cannot be too much admired. There are also more grace, life, and variety in the sprays of foliage on each side of it, and under the heads, than in any other capital of the series, though the earliness of the workmanship is marked by considerable hardness and coldness in the larger heads. A Northern Gothic workman, better acquainted with bears and wolves than it was possible to become in St. Mark's Place, would have put far more life into these heads, but he could not have composed them more skilfully.

SECTION XCVIII. _First side_. A lion with a stag's haunch in his mouth. Those readers who have the folio plate, should observe the peculiar way in which the ear is cut into the shape of a ring, jagged or furrowed on the edge; an archaic mode of treatment peculiar, in the Ducal Palace, to the lion's heads of the fourteenth century. The moment we reach the Renaissance work, the lion's ears are smooth. Inscribed simply, "LEO."

_Second side_. A wolf with a dead bird in his mouth, its body wonderfully true in expression of the passiveness of death. The feathers are each wrought with a central quill and radiating filaments. Inscribed "LUPUS."

_Third side_. A fox, not at all like one, with a dead cock in his mouth, its comb and pendent neck admirably designed so as to fall across the great angle leaf of the capital, its tail hanging down on the other side, its long straight feathers exquisitely cut. Inscribed ("VULP?)IS."

_Fourth side_. Entirely broken away.

_Fifth side_. "APER." Well tusked, with a head of maize in his mouth; at least I suppose it to be maize, though shaped like a pine-cone.

_Sixth side_. "CHANIS." With a bone, very ill cut; and a bald-headed species of dog, with ugly flap ears.

_Seventh side_. "MUSCIPULUS." With a rat (?) in his mouth.

_Eighth side_. "URSUS." With a honeycomb, covered with large bees.

SECTION XCIX. TWENTY-FIRST CAPITAL. Represents the principal inferior professions.

_First side_. An old man, with his brow deeply wrinkled, and very expressive features, beating in a kind of mortar with a hammer. Inscribed "LAPICIDA SUM."

_Second side_. I believe, a goldsmith; he is striking a small flat bowl or patera, on a pointed anvil, with a light hammer. The inscription is gone.

_Third side_. A shoemaker with a shoe in his hand, and an instrument for cutting leather suspended beside him. Inscription undecipherable.

_Fourth side_. Much broken. A carpenter planing a beam resting on two horizontal logs. Inscribed "CARPENTARIUS SUM."

_Fifth side_. A figure shovelling fruit into a tub; the latter very carefully carved from what appears to have been an excellent piece of cooperage. Two thin laths cross each other over the top of it. The inscription, now lost, was, according to Selvatico, "MENSURATOR"?

_Sixth side_. A man, with a large hoe, breaking the ground, which lies in irregular furrows and clods before him. Now undecipherable, but according to Selvatico, "AGRICHOLA."

_Seventh side_. A man, in a pendent cap, writing on a large scroll which falls over his knee. Inscribed "NOTARIUS SUM."

_Eighth side_. A man forging a sword, or scythe-blade: he wears a large skull-cap; beats with a large hammer on a solid anvil; and is inscribed "FABER SUM."

SECTION C. TWENTY-SECOND CAPITAL. The Ages of Man; and the influence of the planets on human life.

_First side_. The moon, governing infancy for four years, according to Selvatico. I have no note of this side, having, I suppose, been prevented from raising the ladder against it by some fruit-stall or other impediment in the regular course of my examination; and then forgotten to return to it.

_Second side_. A child with a tablet, and an alphabet inscribed on it. The legend above is


Or, "Mercurius dominatur puerilite per annos X." (Selvatico reads VII.) "Mercury governs boyhood for ten (or seven) years."

_Third side_. An older youth, with another tablet, but broken. Inscribed


Selvatico misses this side altogether, as I did the first, so that the lost planet is irrecoverable, as the inscription is now defaced. Note the o for e in adolescentia; so also we constantly find u for o; showing, together with much other incontestable evidence of the same kind, how full and deep the old pronunciation of Latin always remained, and how ridiculous our English mincing of the vowels would have sounded to a Roman ear.

_Fourth side_. A youth with a hawk on his fist.

The sue governs youth for nineteen years.

_Fifth side_. A man sitting, helmed, with a
sword over his shoulder. Inscribed

Mars governs manhood for fifteen years.

_Sixth side_. A very graceful and serene
figure, in the pendent cap, reading.

Jupiter governs age for twelve years.

_Seventh side_. An old man in a skull-cap, praying.

"DECREPITE DNT SATN UQ' ADMOTE." (Saturnus usque ad mortem.)
Saturn governs decrepitude until death.

_Eighth side_. The dead body lying on a mattress.

Last comes death, the penalty of sin.

SECTION CI. Shakespeare's Seven Ages are of course merely the expression of this early and well-known system. He has deprived the dotage of its devotion; but I think wisely, as the Italian system would imply that devotion was, or should be, always delayed until dotage.

TWENTY-THIRD CAPITAL. I agree with Selvatico in thinking this has been restored. It is decorated with large and vulgar heads.

SECTION CII. TWENTY-FOURTH CAPITAL. This belongs to the large shaft which sustains the great party wall of the Sala del Gran Consiglio. The shaft is thicker than the rest; but the capital, though ancient, is coarse and somewhat inferior in design to the others of the series. It represents the history of marriage: the lover first seeing his mistress at a window, then addressing her, bringing her presents; then the bridal, the birth and the death of a child. But I have not been able to examine these sculptures properly, because the pillar is encumbered by the railing which surrounds the two guns set before the Austrian guard-house.

SECTION CIII. TWENTY-FIFTH CAPITAL. We have here the employments of the months, with which we are already tolerably acquainted. There are, however, one or two varieties worth noticing in this series.

_First side_. March. Sitting triumphantly in a rich dress, as the beginning of the year.

_Second side_. April and May. April with a lamb: May with a feather fan in her hand.

_Third side_. June. Carrying cherries in a basket.

I did not give this series with the others in the previous chapter, because this representation of June is peculiarly Venetian. It is called "the month of cherries," mese delle ceriese, in the popular rhyme on the conspiracy of Tiepolo, quoted above, Vol. I.

The cherries principally grown near Venice are of a deep red color, and large, but not of high flavor, though refreshing. They are carved upon the pillar with great care, all their stalks undercut.

_Fourth side_. July and August. The first reaping; the leaves of the straw being given, shooting out from the tubular stalk. August, opposite, beats (the grain?) in a basket.

_Fifth side_. September. A woman standing in a wine-tub, and holding a branch of vine. Very beautiful.

_Sixth side_. October and November. I could not make out their occupation; they seem to be roasting or boiling some root over a fire.

_Seventh side_. December. Killing pigs, as usual.

_Eighth side_. January warming his feet, and February frying fish. This last employment is again as characteristic of the Venetian winter as the cherries are of the Venetian summer.

The inscriptions are undecipherable, except a few letters here and there, and the words MARCIUS, APRILIS, and FEBRUARIUS.

This is the last of the capitals of the early palace; the next, or twenty-sixth capital, is the first of those executed in the fifteenth century under Foscari; and hence to the Judgment angle the traveller has nothing to do but to compare the base copies of the earlier work with their originals, or to observe the total want of invention in the Renaissance sculptor, wherever he has depended on his own resources. This, however, always with the exception of the twenty-seventh and of the last capital, which are both fine.

I shall merely enumerate the subjects and point out the plagiarisms of these capitals, as they are not worth description.

SECTION CIV. TWENTY-SIXTH CAPITAL. Copied from the fifteenth, merely changing the succession of the figures.

TWENTY-SEVENTH CAPITAL. I think it possible that this may be part of the old work displaced in joining the new palace with the old; at all events, it is well designed, though a little coarse. It represents eight different kinds of fruit, each in a basket; the characters well given, and groups well arranged, but without much care or finish. The names are inscribed above, though somewhat unnecessarily, and with certainly as much disrespect to the beholder's intelligence as the sculptor's art, namely, ZEREXIS, PIRI, CHUCUMERIS, PERSICI, ZUCHE, MOLONI, FICI, HUVA. Zerexis (cherries) and Zuche (gourds) both begin with the same letter, whether meant for z, s, or c I am not sure. The Zuche are the common gourds, divided into two protuberances, one larger than the other, like a bottle compressed near the neck; and the Moloni are the long water-melons, which, roasted, form a staple food of the Venetians to this day.

SECTION CV. TWENTY-EIGHTH CAPITAL. Copied from the seventh.

TWENTY-NINTH CAPITAL. Copied from the ninth.

THIRTIETH CAPITAL. Copied from the tenth. The "Accidia" is noticeable as having the inscription complete, "ACCIDIA ME STRINGIT;" and the "Luxuria" for its utter want of expression, having a severe and calm face, a robe up to the neck, and her hand upon her breast. The inscription is also different: "LUXURIA SUM STERC'S (?) INFERI"(?).

THIRTY-FIRST CAPITAL. Copied from the eighth.

THIRTY-SECOND CAPITAL. Has no inscription, only fully robed figures laying their hands, without any meaning, on their own shoulders, heads, or chins, or on the leaves around them.

THIRTY-THIRD CAPITAL. Copied from the twelfth.

THIRTY-FOURTH CAPITAL. Copied from the eleventh.

THIRTY-FIFTH CAPITAL. Has children, with birds or fruit, pretty in features, and utterly inexpressive, like the cherubs of the eighteenth century.

SECTION CVI. THIRTY-SIXTH CAPITAL. This is the last of the Piazzetta facade, the elaborate one under the Judgment angle. Its foliage is copied from the eighteenth at the opposite side, with an endeavor on the part of the Renaissance sculptor to refine upon it, by which he has merely lost some of its truth and force. This capital will, however, be always thought, at first, the most beautiful of the whole series: and indeed it is very noble; its groups of figures most carefully studied, very graceful, and much more pleasing than those of the earlier work, though with less real power in them; and its foliage is only inferior to that of the magnificent Fig-tree angle. It represents, on its front or first side, Justice enthroned, seated on two lions; and on the seven other sides examples of acts of justice or good government, or figures of lawgivers, in the following order:

_Second side_. Aristotle, with two pupils, giving laws. Inscribed:

Aristotle who declares laws.

_Third side_. I have mislaid my note of this side: Selvatico and Lazari call it "Isidore" (?). (Footnote: Can they have mistaken the ISIPIONE of the fifth side for the word Isidore?)

_Fourth side_. Solon with his pupils. Inscribed:

Solon, one of the seven sages of Greece, who declares laws.

Note, by the by, the pure Venetian dialect used in this capital, instead of the Latin in the more ancient ones. One of the seated pupils in this sculpture is remarkably beautiful in the sweep of his flowing drapery.

_Fifth side_. The chastity of Scipio. Inscribed:

"ISIPIONE A CHASTITA CH * * * E LA FIA (e la figlia?) * * ARE."

A soldier in a plumed bonnet presents a kneeling maiden to the seated Scipio, who turns thoughtfully away.

_Sixth side_. Numa Pompilius building churches.


Numa, in a kind of hat with a crown above it, directing a soldier in Roman armor (note this, as contrasted with the mail of the earlier capitals). They point to a tower of three stories filled with tracery.

_Seventh side_. Moses receiving the law. Inscribed:


Moses kneels on a rock, whence springs a beautifully fancied tree, with clusters of three berries in the centre of the three leaves, sharp and quaint, like fine Northern Gothic. The half figure of the Deity comes out of the abacus, the arm meeting that of Moses, both at full stretch, with the stone tablets between.

_Eighth side_. Trajan doing justice to the Widow.


He is riding spiritedly, his mantle blown out behind; the widow kneeling before his horse.

SECTION CVII. The reader will observe that this capital is of peculiar interest in its relation to the much disputed question of the character of the later government of Venice. It is the assertion by that government of its belief that Justice only could be the foundation of its stability; as these stones of Justice and Judgment are the foundation of its halls of council. And this profession of their faith may be interpreted in two ways. Most modern historians would call it, in common with the continual reference to the principles of justice in the political and judicial language of the period, (Footnote: Compare the speech of the Doge Mocenigo, above,--"first justice, and _then the interests of the state:" and see Vol. III. Chap. II Section LIX.) nothing more than a cloak for consummate violence and guilt; and it may easily be proved to have been so in myriads of instances. But in the main, I believe the expression of feeling to be genuine. I do not believe, of the majority of the leading Venetians of this period whose portraits have come down to us, that they were deliberately and everlastingly hypocrites. I see no hypocrisy in their countenances. Much capacity of it, much subtlety, much natural and acquired reserve; but no meanness. On the contrary, infinite grandeur, repose, courage, and the peculiar unity and tranquillity of expression which come of sincerity or _wholeness of heart, and which it would take much demonstration to make me believe could by any possibility be seen on the countenance of an insincere man. I trust, therefore, that these Venetian nobles of the fifteenth century did, in the main, desire to do judgment and justice to all men; but, as the whole system of morality had been by this time undermined by the teaching of the Romish Church, the idea of justice had become separated from that of truth, so that dissimulation in the interest of the state assumed the aspect of duty. We had, perhaps, better consider, with some carefulness, the mode in which our own government is carried on, and the occasional difference between parliamentary and private morality, before we judge mercilessly of the Venetians in this respect. The secrecy with which their political and criminal trials were conducted, appears to modern eyes like a confession of sinister intentions; but may it not also be considered, and with more probability, as the result of an endeavor to do justice in an age of violence?--the only means by which Law could establish its footing in the midst of feudalism. Might not Irish juries at this day justifiably desire to conduct their proceedings with some greater approximation to the judicial principles of the Council of Ten? Finally, if we examine, with critical accuracy, the evidence on which our present impressions of Venetian government are founded, we shall discover, in the first place, that two-thirds of the traditions of its cruelties are romantic fables: in the second, that the crimes of which it can be proved to have been guilty, differ only from those committed by the other Italian powers in being done less wantonly, and under profounder conviction of their political expediency: and lastly, that the final degradation of the Venetian power appears owing not so much to the principles of its government, as to their being forgotten in the pursuit of pleasure.

SECTION CVIII. We have now examined the portions of the palace which contain the principal evidence of the feeling of its builders. The capitals of the, upper arcade are exceedingly various in their character; their design is formed, as in the lower series, of eight leaves, thrown into volutes at the angles, and sustaining figures at the flanks; but these figures have no inscriptions, and though evidently not without meaning, cannot be interpreted without more knowledge than I possess of ancient symbolism. Many of the capitals toward the Sea appear to have been restored, and to be rude copies of the ancient ones; others, though apparently original, have been somewhat carelessly wrought; but those of them, which are both genuine and carefully treated, are even finer in composition than any, except the eighteenth, in the lower arcade. The traveller in Venice ought to ascend into the corridor, and examine with great care the series of capitals which extend on the Piazzetta side from the Fig-tree angle to the pilaster which carries the party wall of the Sala del Gran Consiglio. As examples of graceful composition in massy capitals meant for hard service and distant effect, these are among the finest things I know in Gothic art; and that above the fig-tree is remarkable for its sculpture of the four winds; each on the side turned towards the wind represented. Levante, the east wind; a figure with rays round its head, to show that it is always clear weather when that wind blows, raising the sun out of the sea: Hotro, the south wind; crowned, holding the sun in its right hand: Ponente, the west wind; plunging the sun into the sea: and Tramontana, the north wind; looking up at the north star. This capital should be carefully examined, if for no other reason than to attach greater distinctness of idea to the magnificent verbiage of Milton:

"Thwart of these, as fierce,
Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds,
Eurus, and Zephyr; with their lateral noise,
Sirocco and Libecchio."

I may also especially point out the bird feeding its three young ones on the seventh pillar on the Piazzetta side; but there is no end to the fantasy of these sculptures; and the traveller ought to observe them all carefully, until he comes to the great Pilaster or complicated pier which sustains the party wall of the Sala del Consiglio; that is to say, the forty-seventh capital of the whole series, counting from the pilaster of the Vine angle inclusive, as in the series of the lower arcade. The forty-eighth, forty-ninth, and fiftieth are bad work, but they are old; the fifty-first is the first Renaissance capital of the upper arcade: the first new lion's head with smooth ears, cut in the time of Foscari, is over the fiftieth capital; and that capital, with its shaft, stands on the apex of the eighth arch from the Sea, on the Piazzetta side, of which one spandril is masonry of the fourteenth and the other of the fifteenth century.

SECTION CIX. The reader who is not able to examine the building on the spot may be surprised at the definiteness with which the point of junction is ascertainable; but a glance at the lowest range of leaves in the opposite Plate (XX.) will enable him to judge of the grounds on which the above statement is made. Fig. 12 is a cluster of leaves from the capital of the Four Winds; early work of the finest time. Fig. 13 is a leaf from the great Renaissance capital at the Judgment angle, worked in imitation of the older leafage. Fig. 14 is a leaf from one of the Renaissance capitals of the upper arcade, which are all worked in the natural manner of the period. It will be seen that it requires no great ingenuity to distinguish between such design as that of fig. 12 and that of fig. 14.

SECTION CX. It is very possible that the reader may at first like fig. 14 best. I shall endeavor, in the next chapter, to show why he should not; but it must also be noted, that fig. 12 has lost, and fig. 14 gained, both largely, under the hands of the engraver. All the bluntness and coarseness of feeling in the workmanship of fig. 14 have disappeared on this small scale, and all the subtle refinements in the broad masses of fig. 12 have vanished. They could not, indeed, be rendered in line engraving, unless by the hand of Albert Durer; and I have, therefore, abandoned, for the present, all endeavor to represent any more important mass of the early sculpture of the Ducal Palace: but I trust that, in a few months, casts of many portions will be within the reach of the inhabitants of London, and that they will be able to judge for themselves of their perfect, pure, unlabored naturalism; the freshness, elasticity, and softness of their leafage, united with the most noble symmetry and severe reserve,--no running to waste, no loose or experimental lines, no extravagance, and no weakness. Their design is always sternly architectural; there is none of the wildness or redundance of natural vegetation, but there is all the strength, freedom, and tossing flow of the breathing leaves, and all the undulation of their surfaces, rippled, as they grew, by the summer winds, as the sands are by the sea.

SECTION CXI. This early sculpture of the Ducal Palace, then, represents the state of Gothic work in Venice at its central and proudest period, i. e. circa 1350. After this time, all is decline,--of what nature and by what steps, we shall inquire in the ensuing chapter; for as this investigation, though still referring to Gothic architecture, introduces us to the first symptoms of the Renaissance influence, I have considered it as properly belonging to the third division of our subject.

SECTION CXII. And as, under the shadow of these nodding leaves, we bid farewell to the great Gothic spirit, here also we may cease our examination of the details of the Ducal Palace; for above its upper arcade there are only the four traceried windows, and one or two of the third order on the Rio Facade, which can be depended upon as exhibiting the original workmanship of the older palace. (Footnote: Some further details respecting these portions, as well as some necessary confirmations of my statements of dates, are, however, given in Appendix I., Vol. III. I feared wearying the general reader by introducing them into the text.) I examined the capitals of the four other windows on the facade, and of those on the Piazzetta, one by one, with great care, and I found them all to be of far inferior workmanship to those which retain their traceries: I believe the stone framework of these windows must have been so cracked and injured by the flames of the great fire, as to render it necessary to replace it by new traceries; and that the present mouldings and capitals are base imitations of the original ones. The traceries were at first, however, restored in their complete form, as the holes for the bolts which fastened the bases of their shafts are still to be seen in the window-sills, as well as the marks of the inner mouldings on the soffits. How much the stone facing of the facade, the parapets, and the shafts and niches of the angles, retain of their original masonry, it is also impossible to determine; but there is nothing in the workmanship of any of them demanding especial notice; still less in the large central windows on each facade which are entirely of Renaissance execution. All that is admirable in these portions of the building is the disposition of their various parts and masses, which is without doubt the same as in the original fabric, and calculated, when seen from a distance, to produce the same impression.

SECTION CXIII. Not so in the interior. All vestige of the earlier modes of decoration was here, of course, destroyed by the fires; and the severe and religious work of Guariento and Bellini has been replaced by the wildness of Tintoret and the luxury of Veronese. But in this case, though widely different in temper, the art of the renewal was at least intellectually as great as that which had perished: and though the halls of the Ducal Palace are no more representative of the character of the men by whom it was built, each of them is still a colossal casket of priceless treasure; a treasure whose safety has till now depended on its being despised, and which at this moment, and as I write, is piece by piece being destroyed for ever.

SECTION CXIV. The reader will forgive my quitting our more immediate subject, in order briefly to explain the causes and the nature of this destruction; for the matter is simply the most important of all that can be brought under our present consideration respecting the state of art in Europe.

The fact is, that the greater number of persons or societies throughout Europe, whom wealth, or chance, or inheritance has put in possession of valuable pictures, do not know a good picture from a bad one, and have no idea in what the value of a picture really consists. (Footnote: Many persons, capable of quickly sympathizing with any excellence, when once pointed out to them, easily deceive themselves into the supposition that they are judges of art. There is only one real test of such power of judgment. Can they, at a glance, discover a good picture obscured by the filth, and confused among the rubbish, of the pawnbroker's or dealer's garret?) The reputation of certain work is raised partly by accident, partly by the just testimony of artists, partly by the various and generally bad taste of the public (no picture, that I know of, has ever, in modern times, attained popularity, in the full sense of the term, without having some exceedingly bad qualities mingled with its good ones), and when this reputation has once been completely established, it little matters to what state the picture may be reduced: few minds are so completely devoid of imagination as to be unable to invest it with the beauties which they have heard attributed to it.

SECTION CXV. This being so, the pictures that are most valued are for the most part those by masters of established renown, which are highly or neatly finished, and of a size small enough to admit of their being placed in galleries or saloons, so as to be made subjects of ostentation, and to be easily seen by a crowd. For the support of the fame and value of such pictures, little more is necessary than that they should be kept bright, partly by cleaning, which is incipient destruction, and partly by what is called "restoring," that is, painting over, which is of course total destruction. Nearly all the gallery pictures in modern Europe have been more or less destroyed by one or other of these operations, generally exactly in proportion to the estimation in which they are held; and as, originally, the smaller and more highly finished works of any great master are usually his worst, the contents of many of our most celebrated galleries are by this time, in reality, of very small value indeed.

SECTION CXVI. On the other hand, the most precious works of any noble painter are usually those which have been done quickly, and in the heat of the first thought, on a large scale, for places where there was little likelihood of their being well seen, or for patrons from whom there was little prospect of rich remuneration. In general, the best things are done in this way, or else in the enthusiasm and pride of accomplishing some great purpose, such as painting a cathedral or a camposanto from one end to the other, especially when the time has been short, and circumstances disadvantageous.

SECTION CXVII. Works thus executed are of course despised, on account of their quantity, as well as their frequent slightness, in the places where they exist; and they are too large to be portable, and too vast and comprehensive to be read on the spot, in the hasty temper of the present age. They are, therefore, almost universally neglected, whitewashed by custodes, shot at by soldiers, suffered to drop from the walls, piecemeal in powder and rags by society in general; but, which is an advantage more than counterbalancing all this evil, they are not often "restored." What is left of them, however fragmentary, however ruinous, however obscured and defiled, is almost always _the real thing_; there are no fresh readings: and therefore the greatest treasures of art which Europe at this moment possesses are pieces of old plaster on ruinous brick walls, where the lizards burrow and bask, and which few other living creatures ever approach; and torn sheets of dim canvas, in waste corners of churches; and mildewed stains, in the shape of human figures, on the walls of dark chambers, which now and then an exploring traveller causes to be unlocked by their tottering custode, looks hastily round, and retreats from in a weary satisfaction at his accomplished duty.

SECTION CXVIII. Many of the pictures on the ceilings and walls of the Ducal Palace, by Paul Veronese and Tintoret, have been more or less reduced, by neglect, to this condition. Unfortunately they are not altogether without reputation, and their state has drawn the attention of the Venetian authorities and academicians. It constantly happens, that public bodies who will not pay five pounds to preserve a picture, will pay fifty to repaint it; (Footnote: This is easily explained. There are, of course, in every place and at all periods, bad painters who conscientiously believe that they can improve every picture they touch; and these men are generally, in their presumption, the most influential over the innocence, whether of monarchs or municipalities. The carpenter and slater have little influence in recommending the repairs of the roof; but the bad painter has great influence, as well as interest, in recommending those of the picture.) and when I was at Venice in 1846, there were two remedial operations carrying on, at one and the same time, in the two buildings which contain the pictures of greatest value in the city (as pieces of color, of greatest value in the world), curiously illustrative of this peculiarity in human nature. Buckets were set on the floor of the Scuola di San Rocco, in every shower, to catch the rain which came through the pictures of Tintoret on the ceiling; while in the Ducal Palace, those of Paul Veronese were themselves laid on the floor to be repainted; and I was myself present at the re-illumination of the breast of a white horse, with a brush, at the end of a stick five feet long, luxuriously dipped in a common house-painter's vessel of paint.

This was, of course, a large picture. The process has already been continued in an equally destructive, though somewhat more delicate manner, over the whole of the humbler canvases on the ceiling of the Sala del Gran Consiglio; and I heard it threatened when I was last in Venice (1851-2) to the "Paradise" at its extremity, which is yet in tolerable condition,--the largest work of Tintoret, and the most wonderful piece of pure, manly, and masterly oil-painting in the world.

SECTION CXIX. I leave these facts to the consideration of the European patrons of art. Twenty years hence they will be acknowledged and regretted; at present, I am well aware, that it is of little use to bring them forward, except only to explain the present impossibility of stating what pictures _are_, and what _were_, in the interior of the Ducal Palace. I can only say, that in the winter of 1851, the "Paradise" of Tintoret was still comparatively uninjured, and that the Camera di Collegio, and its antechamber, and the Sala de' Pregadi were full of pictures by Veronese and Tintoret, that made their walls as precious as so many kingdoms; so precious indeed, and so full of majesty, that sometimes when walking at evening on the Lido, whence the great chain of the Alps, crested with silver clouds, might be seen rising above the front of the Ducal Palace, I used to feel as much awe in gazing on the building as on the hills, and could believe that God had done a greater work in breathing into the narrowness of dust the mighty spirits by whom its haughty walls had been raised, and its burning legends written, than in lifting the rocks of granite higher than the clouds of heaven, and veiling them with their various mantle of purple flower and shadowy pine.


I have printed the chapter on the Ducal Palace, quite one of the most important pieces of work done in my life, without alteration of its references to the plates of the first edition, because I hope both to republish some of those plates, and together with them, a few permanent photographs (both from the sculpture of the Palace itself, and from my own drawings of its detail), which may be purchased by the possessors of this smaller edition to bind with the book or not, as they please. This separate publication I can now soon set in hand; and I believe it will cause much less confusion to leave for the present the references to the old plates untouched. The wood-blocks used for the first three figures in this chapter, are the original ones: that of the Ducal Palace facade was drawn on the wood by my own hand, and cost me more trouble than it is worth, being merely given for division and proportion. The greater part of the first volume, omitted in this edition after "the Quarry," will be republished in the series of my reprinted works, with its original wood-blocks.

But my mind is mainly set now on getting some worthy illustration of the St. Mark's mosaics, and of such remains of the old capitals (now for ever removed, in process of the Palace restoration, from their life in sea wind and sunlight, and their ancient duty, to a museum-grave) as I have useful record of, drawn in their native light. The series, both of these and of the earlier mosaics, of which the sequence is sketched in the preceding volume, and farther explained in the third number of "St. Mark's Rest," become to me every hour of my life more precious both for their art and their meaning; and if any of my readers care to help me, in my old age, to fulfil my life's work rightly, let them send what pence they can spare for these objects to my publisher, Mr. Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent.

Since writing the first part of this note, I have received a letter from Mr. Burne Jones, assuring me of his earnest sympathy in its object, and giving me hope even of his superintendence of the drawings, which I have already desired to be undertaken. But I am no longer able to continue work of this kind at my own cost; and the fulfilment of my purpose must entirely depend on the money-help given me by my readers.

John Ruskin's Book: Stones of Venice Introductions

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EDITOR'S PREFACE "Turner's _Harbors of England_," as it is generally called, is a book which, for various reasons, has never received from readers of Mr. Ruskin's writings the attention it deserves. True, it has always been sought after by connoisseurs, and collectors never fail with their eleven or twelve guineas whenever a set of Artist's Proofs of the First Edition of 1856 comes into the market. But to the General Reader the book with its twelve exquisitely delicate mezzotints--four of which Mr. Ruskin has declared to be among the very finest executed by Turner from his marine subjects--is practically unknown. The

Stones Of Venice - Introductions - Chapter 4. St. Mark's Stones Of Venice - Introductions - Chapter 4. St. Mark's

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CHAPTER IV. ST. MARK'SSECTION I. "And so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus." If as the shores of Asia lessened upon his sight, the spirit of prophecy had entered into the heart of the weak disciple who had turned back when his hand was on the plough, and who had been judged, by the chiefest of Christ's captains, unworthy thenceforward to go forth with him to the work, (Footnote: Acts, xiii. 13; xv. 38, 39.) how wonderful would he have thought it, that by the lion symbol in future ages he was to be represented among men! how woful, that