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ceived several medals from Government for their daring and often successful efforts to save the lives of the shipwrecked mariners.
By this time our carriage appeared, with the ladies all comfortably stowed in the inside, and Pierre and old G-on the driving-seat. As they approached I looked hard at Pierre, and came to the conclusion that he and his horses had been drinking negus ; but, as the division of labour is the very soul of political economy, Pierre had drank all the wine, leaving the pure element to the horses. He was by no means intoxicated, but the good wine had done its good office : there was a still deeper tinge of red in his face—his eye twinkled with accumulated fun and drollery—and the large loose mouth seemed larger and looser than ever, displaying occasionally a most formidable set of grinders. Old G- also seemed somewhat under the influence of the jolly god; he had cocked his hat rakishly on one side, and there was a glance in his eye which warned me that he would soon throw off the gravity and decorum which he had assumed in the presence of Abdallah and Gamboge.
Having taken my seat in the carriage, we drove merrily across the sands, our guides preceding us at a rapid pace through the shallow water until we were long past all danger of quicksands, when, taking off their caps and wishing us " bon voyage,” they returned to their island home.
As long as we could command a good view of St. Michel, we all, except Pierre, remained silent, watching the effects of the evening shadows, as they gradually stole across the sand to the foot of the old Primeval Rock. Pierre, however, having no one else to talk to, commenced speaking to his horses in a language which they seemed to understand, but which would not be intelligible to any London cabhorse, or to the nag who drew Larry Doolin's “ Irish jaunting-car." I remember a huntsman in my youth, who was celebrated for possessing "the genteelest of dog language ;” and probably, among the cochers of Avranches, Pierre has a similar celebrity as to his colloquial power with horses; his favourite sentence of encouragement or reproach consisted of two words, which I despair of pronouncing with the pen, but they sounded something like « Hey, doo !"
Hey, doo !” He always commenced with this phrase; then came a few guttural sounds from the chest, and then a crack from his formidable whip, and then “ Hey, doo !"
As soon as we fairly left the strand, and in consequence of a turn in the road had lost sight of St. Michel, we in the carriage sat down, and were fast subsiding into that half-sleepy, dreamy state so common after a day of pleasure and excitement, when suddenly we were aroused by hearing old G-singing at the top of his voice, but outrageously out of tune, “Mourir pour la Patrie.” Instantly Pierre, whose father had been a soldier, and had fought under Napoleon at Austerlitz and Marengo, took fire, and, turning round, clasped old G- by the hand, and took up the song in a rich, powerful, and well-cultivated voice, occasionally interrupting himself to address a word or two to his horses (which he left very much to their own discretion), and sometimes to indulge in some observation which had been long repressed, in consequence of his being under the impression that his companion did
not understand French. It soon appeared that old G- _'s repertory of French songs was fully as inexhaustible as his English collection, and he and Pierre continued to sing song after song, at the top of their voices, to the bewilderment of the few Norman peasants whom we met on the road ; Pierre, who did not quite approve of old G- -'s riusic, occasionally interrupting him in this manner, “ Ecoutez, Monsieur, • Mourir pour la Patrie'- Hey, doo !'—C'est le sort le plus beaule plus digne d'envie— Hey, doo !!”—and old breaking off suddenly from Beranger's song of the “Cossack and his Horse," or “François gardez mon souvenir,” to the “Boys of Kilkenny, “Believe me if all those endearing young charms,” which he sang looking with a most tender expression at Pierre's fiery red face, who, on such occasions, would look round at the travellers in the carriage, as if to appeal to them for an opinion as to his comrade's sanity; and certainly any one who saw the old gentleman on that day would be slow to credit what he tells you, and expects you to believe, that when at home he is a staid, sober, judicial personage, whose thoughts are concentrated wisdom, and whose word is law. Between him and Pierre the fun grew fast and furious ; they continued to sing French and English songs, clasping each other by the hand, and swearing eternal friendship in both languages, old - occasionally throwing in an asseveration of fidelity in German or Spanish, of which tongues he had picked up a few sentences. At last, as we approached Avranches, we were obliged, for the sake of our characters, to implore a suspension of their boisterous harmony. Pierre, however, insisted on finishing “ François gardez mon souvenir,” and then drove us with great sedateness to the “Rue Guè de l'Epine,” where some refreshment awaited us. Old G- who declared that singing had made his throat sore, swallowed at one draught a bottle of light claret ; and then, saying it was too cold for his stomach, drank a huge goblet of brandy and water ; after which he insisted on walking home with our pretty companions, to whom, I am sure, he said “ Farewell !” in the affectionate manner usual to him whenever pretty girls are concerned.
And now, having brought the party safely back from St. Michel, it is time to finish my story. If these lines ever meet the
of panions on that day, of those charming girls with the long unpronounceable and unwriteable French names, or of that fair young maiden whose broad hat was blown from the highest peak of St. Michel, it may perhaps recall to their memories a day, dull pernaps, and stupid in description, but which will ever be marked with white in the note-book f “THE IRISH TRAVELLER."
THE ROMANCE OF ART.
TORRIGLANO AND ALONSO CANO.
GREAT geaius in the arts of design has been often associated with fiery passions and a love of change and adventure. Where this combination occurs, we often find it leading to the commission of follies, or the perpetration of crimes, and frequently also impelling to a wandering and unsettled life, ever restless and dissatisfied, roving from city to city, and scattering with equal prodigality proofs of genius and examples of eccentricity. Sometimes, indeed, we may observe such a career calming down with advancing years, and the steadier flow of the bounding blood, into a respectable and exemplary old age, but oftener terminating in a violent death, or ending in poverty, disease, and disgrace. The lives of Torrigiano, the roving soldier-sculptor of Florence, and that of the gifted Andalucian, Alonso Cano, afford prominent examples of this interesting phase of artist-life.
Pietro Torrigiano was born at Florence about the year 1470, and was educated in the Garden-Academy of Lorenzo de Medici, under the care of the sculptor Bertoldo, along with Michel Angelo, Francisco Rustici, Lorenzo da Credi, and several other young Italians, who afterwards became excellent artists. In person he was extremely handsome and powerful, but his passions were fierce and impetuous, and often led him into quarrels with his fellow-students, when he did not scruple to have recourse even to personal violence. On one of these occasions, being provoked by some taunting remarks, he struck Michel Angelo so terrible a blow with his fist, that he broke his nose, and thus disfigured him for life. This outrage compelled him to fly from Florence to escape the vengeance of Lorenzo, who was justly indignant at hearing what had taken place, and he repaired to Rome, where he was employed by Alexander VI. in the decoration of the Vatican. He soon, however, grew weary of this, and joined the army of the infamous Cæsar Borgia, who was then making war in Romagna, in which he highly distinguished himself by his valor and resolution. He also served during the Pisan war under Paolo Vitelli, and, at the action on the Garigliano, gained a pair of colours and a great reputation for courage. But as he failed in obtaining a captaincy, which was the great object of his ambition, he became disgusted with the career of arms, and throwing aside the sword, resumed the chisel of the sculptor. He made several small figures in bronze and marble, and also a number of clever drawings, which evinced great breadth and boldness of style. About this time his patron, Pope Alexander VI., sent him to Spain, and he arrived at Grenada, in the hope of being chosen to execute the tomb of the most Catholic sovereigns, Ferdinand and Isabella. In this expectation, however, he was destined to be disappointed, for although incomparably the most accomplished among the competitors, he was rejected on the paltry ground of his being a foreigner. While awaiting the decision of the judges, he produced, as a token of his ability, a beautiful figure of Charity, now placed over the door of the “Sala Capitular” of the cathedral at Grenada. It is characterised by Mr. Ford as a “Michangelesque figure in marble."
Disheartened by his rejection, Torrigiano left Spain, and paid a visit to England, where his superiority over the native artists was so apparent, that he speedily succeeded in obtaining employment, and executed many works in wood, marble, and bronze, for Henry VIII., by whom he was munificently remunerated. His principal work in England is the mag. nificent bronze monument to King Henry VII., and his queen, Elizabeth, in Westminster Abbey, which Fuller calls “a pattern of despair for all posterity to imitate." This he completed in 1519, and received £1000 for his work. His labours were considered so successful, that a second contract was entered into with him, by which he was bound to erect a monument for Henry VIII., a fourth part larger than that of Henry VII. He was to construct a model of the intended tomb, and to complete the whole in four years. This design, however, was never carried into execation. Torrigiano might have spent the rest of his life in ease and affluence, respected and admired, had he been content to remain among “the English beasts,” as he somewhat ungratefully termed the best patrons he ever met with ; but his roving propensities seem to have been incurable, and sent him forth on a second visit to Spain, where he executed a variety of noble works in various materials, which still remain to bear witness to his admirable genius as a sculptor. One of the finest of these is a statue, in terra cotta, of St. Jerome, formerly in the convent of Buena Vista, but now in the museum of Seville. It is of the size of life, and was modelled after the steward of the convent, who was remarkable for his handsome person. It is told of the painter Goya, that after standing for an hour in silent admiration before this noble statue, he pronounced it to be the finest piece of modern sculpture in Spain, if not in the world.
In the Academy of Seville they still use as models for the students certain plaster casts of an exquisitely beautiful female hand, known in Spain as “la mano de la teta,” to which a strange and tragical story is attached. The hand is said to have originally belonged to a figure of the Virgin with the infant Saviour, which was executed by Torrigiano for the Duke of Arcos, after one which he had modelled in terra cotta for the Jeronomite convent of Buena Vista. The Duke, when the statue was finished, is said to have sent the sculptor in payment as much money as loaded two lacqueys; on first sight of which Torrigiano thought himself enriched for ever, but upon examination, the contents of the sacks turned out to be nothing better than maravedis, or the smallest copper coin in use, amounting in all to only thirty ducats. Upon discovering this paltry trick, the irrascible and indignant Florentine gave way to a transport of rage, and, rushing to the spot where stood the Virgin, which he had just completed for his ducal patron, he broke it to pieces rather than suffer it to decorate the palace of one so incapable of appreciating the claims and the works of genius. In Spain this was a serious crime ; the Church claimed a right of property in Virgins and saints, as well as in heretics of every description; and though an artist might paint, or carve, or model as many Virgins as he chose, subject to certain orthodox regulations, he was not permitted to break or destroy he creations of his pencil or chisel. The Duke of Arcos accordingly, on being informed of the destruction of his statue, lost no time in complaining to the Inquisition, and accusing Torrigiano of heresy. Upon This charge the unfortunate sculptor was arrested, imprisoned, put to the question, and capitally condemned, but escaped his sentence by starving himself to death. “He died,” says Mr. Ford, “oh! blot to Seville, tortured in the vaults of the Inquisition, nominally because of suspected faith, but really a victim of artistical jealousy and Espannolismo." His death took place in 1522. It is but fair to mention that, although this story is supported by the authority of Vasari, Cumberland, and several other writers, Cean Bermudez, one of the most accurate historians of the fine arts in Spain, denies it as alike improbable in itself, and discreditable to his country; and Mr. Stirling, in his admirable “ Annals of the Artists of Spain," seems to lean to this view of the question. It has, however, always been the popular and generally received account of the death of the great Florentine sculptor; and, as we shall presently see, there is no great improbability in the occurrence itself, for Alonso Cano (the Michel Angelo of Spain), against whom no national prejudice could possibly operate, was suspended from his functions as a canon of Grenada, and narrowly escaped the deadly grasp of the Inquisition, for an offence almost identical with that committed by the ill-starred Torrigiano.
Alonso Cano, sculptor, painter, and architect, whose chequered career might furnish materials for a drama of the cloak and sword, first saw the light in the beautiful city of Grenada, on the 19th of March, 1601. His parents were of gentle blood, and his father, Miguel Cano, who was a carver of retablos, educated his son for his own calling ; but the painter Juan de Castillo, observing the promising talents of the lad, induced his father to remove to Seville, where the dawning genius of Alonso would have every advantage which the best instructors and finest models could afford. This advice was followed, and, in that city, the young Cano studied painting under Pacheco, Castillo, and the elder Herrera, and sculpture under Montannes. In 1628 his father, Miguel Cano, was commissioned to erect a high altar for the parish church of Lebrija, but dying soon after, the execution of his design was entrusted to the son, who completed it so much to the satisfaction of his employers, that they paid 250 ducats more than the stipulated price. This altar-piece still exists, and the genius of Cano is displayed by a Crucifixion, two colossal statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, and an exquisite carving of the Virgin. Even at this early period of life, the popular voice had placed Cano in the first rank of artists; he stood at the head of the school of Seville, but he was obliged to fly from that delightful residence in consequence of a duel with the painter Sebastian di Llanos y Valdes, in which his dexterous swordsmanship enabled him to overcome and severely wound his antagonist. He fled to Madrid, and there meeting with his former fellow-student Velasquez, was by him introduced tot he Count Duke Olivarez, who employed him in some of the works in the King's palaces. Philip IV., the best royal judge of art that ever lived, on seeing Cano's picture of St. Isidro, appointed him painter to the King, and drawingmaster to the Infant Don Balthasar Carlos, and he seemed on the high road to fame and fortune, when a tragical incident occurred which at