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is another and far more interesting and romantic account of his reasons for abandoning the hammer for the pencil, supported also by strong evidence, and which, as a beautiful episode in the history of Art, we would wish to believe the true one. Under his portrait are certain verses by Lampsonius, which impute his conversion to the influence of love ; and, upon his tomb in the Cathedral of Antwerp, engraved in letters of gold, is the inscription-" Connubiulis amor de mulcibre fecit Apellem.” According to this account, Matsys fell in love with the daughter of an Antwerp painter, who was not insensible to his attachment, but whose flinty-hearted father, regardless of the affection of two young hearts, refused to give his consent to her marriage with a blacksmith, and declared that none but a painter should take her for a wife. Matsys was young and hopeful, and he was also deeply in love ; he therefore applied himself to the study of design with the utmost diligence, and, when he considered himself qualified to compete with his rivals for the fair hand of his mistress, carried one of his pictures to her father, who, charmed with its beauty, no longer refused his consent. This lovestory has been made the subject of a comedy by M. Maurice Seguier, which was successfully performed at the theatre of the Vaudeville in 1799, under the title of “ Marechal ferrant de la Ville d'Anvers." We are certain that all our fair readers will believe the portrait, the tomb, and the comedy, in spite of Van Mander, Descamps, Bryant, and their dull, musty, histories and dictionaries of Art. A mere fit of illness could never turn a sooty, horny-fisted blacksmith into an accomplished painter ; nothing but love could work such a miracle. At all events, if the story is not true it ought to be so.
Matsys died at Antwerp, in 1529, at the advanced age of seventynine. He never visited Italy; and his pictures, though remarkable for minute and careful finish, are cold and dry in manner They were, however, highly esteemed, even in his own time, and fetched very large prices.
Such is the history of three celebrated artists who owed their fame and immortality to the influence of love ; and one cannot fail to be struck with the remarkable similarity in the principal incidents of their lives ; the story of the “ Blacksmith of Antwerp” being almost identical with that of him of the Abruzzi, while Ribalta's, though a little different from both, has yet a singular resemblance in its main features. But interesting and romantic as are the lives of these painters, they are all exceeded, in variety of adventure and constancy of purpose, by the career of Francisco Vieira, one of the few great artists of whom Portugal can boast. He cannot, indeed, be said to have been made a painter by the power of love; but still it exercised so important an influence on his life, and stamped upon it so completely its character of singularity and romance, that his story may, with great propriety, be included under the title of “Love and Painting.” He was born at Lisbon in 1699, and, while quite a boy, contracted a warm friendship for a young girl named Ignez Èlena de Lima, the daughter of a noble family, which later in life ripened into a strong, enduring, and mutual attachment. This boyish love was interrupted for a time by a visit which Vieira made to Rome, in the suite of the Marquis of Abrantes, ambassador to the Holy See. At the time of this visit he appears to have been only nine or ten years of age. At
Rome, he laboured diligently in the study of design for nearly seven years, and, when not quite sixteen years old, obtained the first prize in the Academy of St. Luke. He studied in the school of Trevisani, and improved his skill by copying the works of Annibal Caracci, in the Farnese Palace. On his return to Portugal, in spite of his extreme youth, he was commissioned by the King to paint a large picture on the Mystery of the Eucharist, which he completed in six days, in such a way as entirely to satisfy his royal patron, who further employed him upon a portrait of himself, to be used as a model for the coin-dies in the mint. But the favour of the King could not make Vieira forget his early playmate, and he lost no time in repairing to the mansion of the Lima family, on the beautiful banks of the Tagus, where he was kindly received by the parents of Ignez, who never for a moment dreamed that a painter could aspire to mix his plebeian blood with the sangre azul that flowed in the veins of the Limas. For a time, therefore, everything went happily, and Vieira spent his days in courting his not unwilling mistress, and in sketching the beautiful scenery around him. At length, however, the parents of the fair Ignez became aware of the monstrous fact that the youthful artist had not only wooed, but won the heart of their daughter, and they lost no time in banishing him from their house, and shutting Ignez up in a convent. John V., the then reigning monarch of Portugal, had a fancy for choosing his mistresses from convents, and Vieira, thinking that he might have a sympathy with his case, lost no time in throwing himself at the foot of the throne, and entreating that the compulsory vows which Ignez had been compelled to take might be cancelled, in consideration of the prior faith which she had sworn to himself. His application, however, was vain. The King probably thought that the nuns ought to be a royal privilege, and refused to interfere in favour of a subject. Nothing daunted by this repulse, the enamoured painter proceeded to Rome, and succeeded in obtaining from the Pope a commission directed to the Patriarch of Lisbon, requiring him to investigate the facts of the case ; and the report of this prelate being in favour of Vieira, he was at length made happy by a Papal Bull annulling the conventual vows of the fair Ignez, and authorizing her marriage with her constant lover. * But here again an unforeseen obstacle presented itself. The painter had neglected to obtain the approbation of the civil power in Portugal previously to prosecuting his suit in Rome, and had thus rendered himself liable to the forfeiture of all his property; and he was, therefore, compelled to remain in Rome for six years longer, until the affair should be forgotten in Lisbon. During this period he was elected a member of the Academy of St. Luke, and was a popular and well-employed artist. At the expiry of the six years, he returned to Portugal to claim and wed the bride for whom he had waited so long, and ventured so much. He found her still confined in the Convent of Santa Anna, and jealously watched by her relations. But Vieira was not a man to be daunted by difficulties or dangers; disguised as a brick
* It may be remembered by o readers that a similar dispensation had been granted by a Pope, about two centuries and a half before the days of Vieira, to the Italian painter, Filippo Lippi, and the beautiful but frail Lucrezia Buti.-See Ir. Met. Magazine, vol. ii. p. 635.
layer, he obtained access to the convent, and mingling with the work. men, contrived to obtain an interview with Ignez, and communicated to her a plan of escape, which he afterwards successfully carried into effect, bearing his lady off on horseback, and disguised in male attire. The lovers were, however, closely pursued, and Vieira was wounded by a pistol-shot fired by the brother of Ignez, an injury which he afterwards Avenged by generously relieving his wants when reduced to a state of beggary. On escaping from their pursuers, and reaching another bishopric, Vieira produced the Papal dispensation, and he and Ignez were at last married. Their union, so often deferred, was long and happy, enduring for forty-five years. Vieira afterwards resided for some time at Seville, and was subsequently employed by the King of Portugal in the decoration of the vast convent-palace of Mafra, and appointed painter in ordinary, with a liberal salary. He was by far the best native artist, and resided for nearly forty years in the capital, painting with much assiduity and success. Many of his works perished in the great earthquake of 1755, but some of the best escaped. He was a distinguished architect, and a competent engraver, as well as a skilful painter ; and, after the death of his beloved Ignez, which took place in 1775, he beguiled his grief by writing and publishing, at Lisbon, in 1780, a poetical autobiography, bearing the somewhat pompous and arrogant title of the “Distinguished Painter and Constant Husband." Upon the death of his wife he gave up painting, and spent the most of his time in a retreat called Beato Antonio, in the exercise of meditation and prayer, dying at Lisbon, in 1783, at the age of eighty-four, "with good men's praises for his epitaph," and a high reputation for charity and devotion.
THEY PARTED US.
They parted us, but they can never wring
Then heed them not if they should say they see
In resuming our subject, we shall commence with the gentle and graceful Dove.
Semiramis, the great Queen of Assyria (reigning about 1250 years before Christ), was said to have been nourished in her infancy by doves. Her name signifies “ The Brown Dove,” or “The Mountain Dove.' She was fabled to have been the daughter of Derceto, the Assyrian Venus, and to the Goddess of Beauty doves were consecrated, as an allegory that mildness and tenderness ought to be associated with loveliness. The fable respecting the birth of Semiramis intimates the obscurity of her origin. Among the ancients, when any persons of humble or of unknown parentage achieved renown, it was always pretended (as a piece of necessary flattery) that they descended from the gods. Semiramis became the wife of Onnes, general of Ninus, first King of Assyria ; but that monarch, enraptured with her talents and her charms, took her from Onnes, and married her himself. After his death she usurped the throne from her son Ninias, reigned with great glory, built Babylon, and caused many splendid works of architecture to be erected. Being subsequently murdered by order of her son, she was said to be transformed into a dove.
The Assyrians worshipped the dove as a symbol of the air, and depicted it upon their military banners, to which circumstance allusion is made in the text in Jeremiah, which in our version is rendered, “ Their land is desolate, because of the fierceness of the oppressor,” which in the Vulgate is, “the fierceness of the dove”* (Jer. xxv. 38.) And again, Jer. xlvi. 16, which in our version is, “Let us go again to our own people from the oppressing sword,"+ which in the Vulgate is, “from the sword of the dove."
The people of Ascalon (the reputed birthplace of Semiramis), worshipped doves. The most ancient of the temples dedicated to the celestial Venus was at Ascalon, after which model the people of Cyprus built their celebrated fane.
The Rabbins relate that Solomon bore a sceptre surmounted by a dove, having a golden crown in its mouth, a type of the union of mercy and mildness with sovereign power.
At the second coronation of King Arthur of Britain with his second wife, Guinever (also the second of that name), the Queen was attended by the wives of four British chiefs, each bearing a dove on her hand (perhaps in allusion to Pentecost, about which time the coronation took place). The dove retains its place at British coronations; it is on the sceptre of the reigning Sovereign, and on the ivory rod of the Queen Consort. Among the Egyptians the black PIGEON was the symbol of a widow
“* Facta est terra eorum in desolationem a facie iræ columbæ.”