(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Note Books Of Samuel Butler"

on Painting                   149

satisfied with. When I look at the head of Bellini's Doge,
Loredano Loredani, I can see defects, as every one can see
defects in every picture, but the more I see it the more I
marvel at it, and the more profoundly I respect the painter.
With Raffaelle I find exactly the reverse ; I am carried away
at first, as I was when a young man by Mendelssohn's Songs
Without Words, only to be very angry with myself presently
on finding that I could have believed even for a short time
in something that has no real hold upon me. I know the
S. Catharine in our gallery has been said by some not to be by
Raffaelle. No one will doubt its genuineness who compares
the drawing, painting and feeling of S. Catharine's eyes and
nose with those of the S. John in the Ansidei picture. The
doubts have only ;been raised owing to the fact that the
picture, being hung on a level with the eye, is so easily
seen to be bad that people think Raffaelle cannot have
painted it.

Returning to the S. Nicholas; apart from the expression,
or as it seems to me want of expression, the modelling of the
head is not only poor but very poor. The forehead is formless
and boneless, the nose is entirely wanting in that play of line
and surface which an old man's nose affords; no one ever
yet drew or painted a nose absolutely as nature has made
it, but he who compares carefully drawn noses, as that in
Rembrandt's younger portrait of himself, in his old woman,
in the three Van Eycks, in the Andrea Solario, in the Lore-
dano Loredani by Bellini, all in our gallery, with the nose of
Raffaelle's S. Nicholas will not be long in finding out how
slovenly Raffaelle's treatment in reality is. Eyes, eyebrows,
mouth, cheeks and chin are treated with the same weakness,
and this not the weakness of a child who is taking much pains to
do something beyond his strength, and whose intention can be
felt through and above the imperfections of his performance
(as in the case of the two Apostles' heads by Giotto in our
gallery), but of one who is not even conscious of weakness
save by way of impatience that his work should cost him time
and trouble at all, and who is satisfied if he can turn it out
well enough to take in patrons who have themselves never
either drawn or painted.

Finally, let the spectator turn to the sky and landscape.
It is the cheapest kind of sky with no clouds and going down