Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

by the public edifices of old Poestum, which are existing even to this day: and count Gazola, master of the ordnance in Spain, caused plans and elevations to be taken of them; and in 1758 they were pngraving at Naples, under his inipectian. The taste and proportions of these edifices, and their resemblance to those which are still existing in Upper Egypt, prove them anterior to the commencement of arts even among the Greeks.

To these primitive colonies, whose work they are, perhaps should be attributed those monuments of subterraneous architecture, which are common in Great Greece, Sicily, Phœnicia, and Egypt; I mean those caverns, wrought by human (kill, which hold the first rank among the antiquities of Cumæ and Puzzolo; the catacombs of Naples, Meffina, and Syracuse; and the cryptæ along the coast of Phœnicia, hewn in the rocks; together with those immense galleries which run to such an extent under ground in part of Egypt; arid all the works of this kind, of which the first men found the models in those wonderful ca* vems exhibited to them by nature, among the ruins out of which it has formed most of the islands of the Archipelago. The Myrmidons, who' displayed their valour at the siege of Troy, and gave themselves out to be the descendants of ants,who lived under ground, might perhaps owe both their name, which, according to Pliny, was in the early times common to all the Greeks, and this tradition concerning their origin, to their ancestors having been particularly noted for works of this kind.

Now in one or other of those

early ages must be placed the foundation of those edifices, the ruins of which Evander shewed to Æneas, on the very spot which Rome afterwards came to occupy.

DhjeBis oppidn mtiris, Rellifuiasi •veterumque 'videi momtKtenta <virorum.

AccorJmgly, in the fifth century of the Christian æra, Evander was commonly accounted the founder dr restorer of Rome. Under the empire of Paganism, Rome had not dared to relinquish the opinion which referred its origin to Romulus, such opinion being connected with religion by a number of ce#emonies implying that origin.

To these indications may be added, the dimness and uncertainty of what light appears in the first ages of Rome; the chimeras of the Romans concerning their origin and its supposed epocha; their studious fondness of referring to themselves and their ancestors whatever had an air of grandeur; their constant admiration of these very sewers in question; their goddess Cloacina, to whom they attributed the superintendency of them, and whose worship is dated from Tatius Romulus's colleague. After all, redu* cing the testimony of the Roman historians to their just weight, we (hall only conclude that the construction of the Cloaca maxima is not posterior to the second century ( of Rome.

Against the supposition of such an undertaking being formed, carried into execution, and completed, by a town in its infancy, and perpetually embroiled in wars, I might object, at least, as a reason for doubting, the long patience of the

K z Parisian*

Parisians in bearing, and in a quarter which was for a long time the beauty of Paris, and close by the walks of that quarter, the stench and many inconveniences of an open fewer, without any water running into it, lost in dead grounds, and the infected atmosphere of which over-spread no small part of the garden ground supplying that great city. At length, M. Turgot was the man who contrived and made a stone-work fewer, which, by means of the water running through, and thus cooling and cleansing it, (hould equal those at Rome; yet it is but little above twenty years since such a city ^■(thanks to that valuable citizen) has been provided with a convenience of such importance: tantæ molis erat, &c!

The reasons of necessity, which called for such an undertaking at Paris, did not exist in Rome under Romulus and Tarquin. Its inhabitants may be supposed to have been none of the most delicate persons: it stood scambling along the Tiber, on hills and eminences, the vallies of which were natural drains for the waters and filth, discharging them into that river.

Antiqjjities in the Vatican and Capitol.

The ruins with which the inhabited parts of ancient Rome a"re covered must naturally affect the antiquarians, as representing to their imagination various monument; of the magnificence and grandeur of ancient Rome. The Vatican and the Capitol, amidst the multitude of statues and busts escaped from the ravages of time and 'barbarism, exhibit seme which

every eye must behold with picasure. The Vatican antiques are as universally known as' St. Peter's. The Musæum Capitolinum, in giving the - curious an idea of those which Benedict XIV. has assembled in the Capitol, at the fame time must excite an eager desire of seeing such beauties. The intent of Leo X. and Benedict XIV. in forming these collections, was to secure die enjoyment of them to the public :„ how different from that croud of rapacious popes and nephews, whose leading view was to enrich their houses with the spoils of ancient Rome! It is, however, to be wish, ed, that these collections were aWblutely public, and that they who are entrusted with the keeping of them did not sell the sight of then), and screw an income out of the artists who are obliged to study them-, such a monopoly corresponds neither with the magnificence rior the intentions of a master, who has ft many ways for providing for persons of this class.

The villas of Borghese, Pamphili, Medicis, &c the palaces of Farnese, Barberini, Verospi, Massimi, Albani, &c. are likewise verr rich in antiques; but nothing equals, if not in choice, at least in quantity, those of the Justiniani palace. The apartments, the staircase, court, walls, every corner of this palace are silled or covered with antiques: in a word, under a large slied belonging to it, and where are piled up all those for which room could not be fbondi one sees at once more than are W be found in all Europe, Reme and Florence excepted. At the 'fight of such riches we admire the munificence of the prince which'h* thus provided 'for'their conservation;

bat

but the quantity rather astonishes than satisfies.

Besides, all these pieces, though real antiques, are far from being equally valuable. Every artisan, who had an hand in filling Rome with monuments of this kind, was not a Phidias or an Apollodorus; the majority of them only copying their most celebrated pieces: every where one meets with copies of the Venus of Medicis, some good, some middling, and often very bad. I saw one at Rome which had been lately discovered, and pretty well repaired, set out for sale in a workshop near La Trinita di Monte. The repair which most of these antiques seem to require, is a very dangerous trial, in which they are always losers: it were perhaps to be wished, that they were treated after the example of Michael Angelo with the celebrated Torso of the Vatican, the repair of which he, modestly declined as above his skill, great as it was. The tradition which had attributed to him the repairing of Laocoon, is manifestly false; the second-hand legs and arms bearing no proportion to the bodies to which they have been fitted- ,

Cardinal AlbAni's Palace.

Cardinal Alexander Albani is at present the capital repairer of antiquity. With him the most muti lated, most disfigured, most irremediable pieces recover their original beauty: nova facit omnia: the fragment of. a bust, which, even when entire, all antiquaries would have disregarded as una tefia incognitijjima, from him receives, with new life, a name which irrevocably perpetuates its rank.

As a repository for those pieces,

he was*building, without the Salara gate, a palace in the taste of those of ancient Rome. Its front is covered with exquisite embellishments, and intersected by a [porticc,, over which runs the first story; a disposition which, if it cools the ground-floor apartments as shaded by the portico, leaves them only a false light. This front faces a parterre with fine water-works, and innumerable antiques, terminating in a vast semi-circular portico, which is open towards the garden, surmounted with a contiguous balustrade, and the outward parts mured. This portico ■puts one the more in mind of the xjjii, or covered walks, of the Romans, as being stocked with those objects with which a learned luxury delighted to embellish them; that is, the statues and busts of the most eminent personages. To statues and busts cardinal Albani has added altars, tombs, bas-reliefs, and monuments of all kinds, and all in part made whole by new work. It is in bustos that these renovations chiefly shew them, selves, in the noses, the ears, and whole parts fitted to those which time has spared. Thus one sees there the Grecian poets, philosophers, and orator?, with amendments and additions; and the name of each newly engraved in Greek characters. We had seen cardinal Albani before seeing his palace; and on our intimating a desire of admiring that structure and its inestimable contents, he answered with something of a sneer, "It is not made for eyes used to "the wonders of French archi"tecture: to you the plan must "appear chimerical, and the per"formance execrable," K 3 Car

Cardinal Passionei's HermiTage.

With less expenc.e and parade cardinal Pasiionei had built and ornamented his Camalduli hermitage. This hermitage, contrived on the side of the mountain of Frescati, had a prospect of Rome, part of the Campania and its sea, with an horizontal view of the R'.ifinella of the Jetuits lying under it. The disposition was modelled from the irregularity of the ground. The apartments formed as many insulated pavilions, dispersed among groves communicating along .serpentine paths: and these paths ended at the main walk, which itself was laid out only as the mountain would permit, being cut in it like a little bank. Along the borders of this walk, of these paths, and these groves, were placed funeral monuments which the cheerful verdure around them enlivened. These monuments were ancient tombs of all dimensions, urns of different figures, mostly very uncommon, and Greek and Latin epitaphs of all ages. The most remarkable piece, at least in its bulk, was the tomb of an emperor of the lower ages. Cardinal Albani, to whom it belonged, hud made an offer of it to cardinal Pasfionei, with the express proviso that he should hoist it into his hermitage, supposing this to be utterly impossible; however, cardinal Pasfionei, by dint of machines and oxen, at length effected it.

Among the epitaphs, that on a Greek actress attracted particular notice, being of a great length, in characters of the best times, and finely preserved. I was for Copying those ■ inscriptions which I thought

most affecting, or most singular, bat the cardinal saved me that trouble, informing me that he had sent a complete collection of them to the Royal Academy of Belles Lettres at Paris.

In the dining room stood a cisten) taken out of the ruins of Adrian*! villa at Tivoli. It was an oblong square of four feet to three, and one in depth, and pierced in its centre for a tube: which, playing at meal time, furn'sned water for drinking, and rinsing the glasses: this water, equally excellent for its coolness and quality, is the very fame which watered Cicero's Tufculanum: ptc cardinal having alighted on the ancient pipes. I never saw any goldsmith's work comparable to this cistern, either for elegancy of form, taste of the ornaments, or delicacy of workmanship. The cardinal, in his pavilion, had a closet of books rather choice than many. In the most conspicuous part of this closet hung a portrait of the celebrated M. Amaud, a Sorbonne doctor; and near it was a large octavq bound in green, without a title: on opening it, there was the Lettres Provinciales in five languages.

But' this hermitage had nothing so extraordinary in it, as its founder: he was free, open, and just, m his conversations, in his dealings, and all his actions; in a word, cardinal Paffionei was really a phænomenon in a country and a court, which are the very centre of ffltrigue and the most artful practices. In his lov,e of literature he had no equal; nobody ever shewed more ardour in promoting it, and nobody ever more heartily detested the Jesuits: this love and this hatred were the two springs of his views, his schemes, and his whole con

duct. Just. An unexpected restraint on his declared sentiments proved his' death: though eighty years of age, his genius and constitution retained all their vigour.

His decease was followed by the speedy destruction of his hermitage: the people of Camalduli, on whose ground it was built, seconded by their neighbours, immediately feil to pulling down a place which he had formed, and was his supreme delight. I have heard, that, to make the quicker work in its demolition, his rancorous enemies tumbled down from the mountain most of the monuments, which the cardinal had placed there.

To the Roman antiques, with which I was most taken, I think I may ad 1 one of a very remarkable kind indeed, and discovered but a little before my arrival.

The abbot Mazeas had accompanied the bishop of Laon, when going to Rome as ambassador from France. Though the account given by Spartian of the magnificence with which the emperor Adrian had collected fur his house at Tivoli, the most remarkable products of the several provinces of the empire, be but superficial, this learned Frenchman under ook from it to search the ground on which the ruins of that house lie scattered. Among some plants quite foreign to the foil of Rome, and which have perpetuated themselves on this ground, he perceived a shrub emitting a kind of gum, made use of by the labouring peasants for perfuming their snuff. The first shrubs of this species which he examined were weak and knotty; but advancing towards an eminence intercepting the north

wind, he perceived others very vigorous, and to be nothing less than that valuable shrub from which the Arabians gather the balsam of Mecca, and' by the emperor Adrian imported and cultivated in his gardens at I ivoli. The abbot Mazeas, it is to be presumed, will communicate to some of the academies, of which he is a member, the particulars of his observations, and the discoveries arising from them.

The follo'wing curious Enquires into the Modes of Fashion and Dress of our Ancestors at different Periods, taken from Grainger's Biographical History if England, <wi//, ive doubt not, prove wry entertaining to such of our readers as have not had an opportunity of seeing the original.

Henry VIII.

IN the reign of Richard II. th$. peaks, or tops,- of shoes and. boots were worn of so enormous a length, that they were tied to the knees. A law was made in the fame reign, to limit them to two inches. The variety of dresses worn in the reign of Henry the Eighth, may be concluded from the print of the naked Englishman, holding a piece of cloth, and a pair of shears, in Borde's "Introduction to Know"ledge." The dress of rhe king and the nobles, in the beginning of this reign, was not unlike that worn by the yeomen of the guard at present. This was probably aped by inferior persons. It is recorded, that "Anne Bolen wore "yellow mourning for Catharine "of Arragon."

As tar as Lhave been able to trace
X 4, the

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »