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they are merely intended to point out the localities, the number and the merits of the principal works of each Sculptor, with such general artistic principles as may be interesting to those, who may not have leisure or opportunity to attain such knowledge by personal enquiry. He has also subjoined a brief historical sketch of the Art from the earliest ages, which he trusts will prove acceptable to the general reader.
To treat of living merit is a delicate task; but the author trusts that those whose productions he reviews, and to several of whom he is indebted for many of the general observations which he records, will do him the justice to believe that, whilst his task obliges him to mark the grades of excellence in this vast Poecile of modern Art, he has endeavoured to hold the balance with an even hand, unbiassed by partiality or prejudice. Should this first effort contribute to bring modern talent and taste and industry more under the fostering eye of an enlightened Public, or facilitate the inspection of modern Sculpture in Rome to his fellow Countrymen and the fair Daughters of his beloved Albion, he will feel more than compensated for the moments of leisure bestovved on these pages.
Rome Jan. 1841.
LKS THROUGH THE STUDII
THE SOULPTORS AT FO113
6. Walks with the studio of the first of living sculptors, Thorwaldsen. It is the good fortune of England to possess in her Grecian marbles a standard by which to estimate living merit. In the Elgin marbles now in the British Museum we see how the principles of the Ideal in imitation and the Beautiful in execution were reduced to practice by Phidias , the first of ancient sculptors , at the brightest period of Grecian refinement. In these former ornaments of the Parthenon we as it were behold the conceptions and the execution of the Great Athenian sculptor, whose transcendant merit consists in uniting grace and beauty with energy and grandeur. The Ideal of Phidias is derived entirely from Nature, as the true Ideal of art must be; but it is not individual or accidental nature : it is the embodied beauty and perfection of the forms of Nature viewed universally , combining grandeur of design and perfection of form with fidelity of detail and correctness of resemblance. These are excellencies which no modern sculptor has attained in an equal degree with Phidias ; but they too are the excellencies of Thorwaldsen, whose works are particularly characterised by simplicity and grandeur.
THE TWELVE APOSTLES.
Of all the statues of Thorwaldsen those of the Apostles, because admitting of unconfined expression and grand peculiarity of composition , are the best, and are peculiarly his own. They however resemble the Apostles in the cartoons of Raphael ; and their drapery well accords wilh their severe and simple character. In the colossal Christ he seems to have concentrated all his powers and to have brought them into a visible form in this sublime representation of the God Man! Adequately to describe it transcends our humble ability. We would say, go and see. What dignity yet what ease! What majesty yet what simplicity! What Divinity yet what meekness and humility!
TRIUMPH OF ALEXANDER.
This basrelief, which was originally intended for the frieze of the government - palace of Milan , is perhaps the grandest composition of modern art. Thorwaldsen, who is confessedly at the head of the modern school of sculpture, is preeminently so in basso rilievo. It has been said that his genius is sometimes erratic, and his composition irregular; but where the forms and sentiments ad
mit of concentrated imagination, as in his triumph of Alexander, he is universally acknowledged to excel.
This figure partakes largely of the severe character of Grecian Art : it bespeaks repose, dignity and grace. The proportions are admirably preserved; and the limbs bear some resemblance to the Meleager of the Vatican.
Their composition is skilful; but the lines are somewhat hard, and are wanting in playful elegance. The figures present a severity and stateliness that ill accord with the characters. The Graces of Canova are more refined, and approach nearer the beau ideal of female beauty.
THE GRACES IN ALTO RILIEVO.
This work stands unrivalled in composition, beauty of form and finish of execution.