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lions-the thousand forms of gothic fancy, which seem to soften the marble and express whatever it likes, and allow it to harden again to last forever. The cathedral is a religion in itself— something worth dying for to those who have an hereditary interest in it." Yet the cathedral of Siena, glorious as it is, certainly one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, is only a fragment-nothing more than the transept of the vast edifice which was planned by its architect, Maestro Lardo, and which want of money and the ravages of the plague amongst his workmen, cut short. The half-finished nave is still, as it has always been, a ruin. But the bits of the church which are completed, including the seven-storied campanile, striped in black and white marble, are of great perfection. Indeed the finished west front, exquisite in its complicated traceries, and deservedly admired as it always is and will be, is perhaps, by comparison, the least admirable part of the building, for it is so wide that the main lines are almost lost in the redundant ornament. "This church," says Symonds, "is the most purely gothic of all Italian cathedrals designed by national architects. Together with that of Orvieto, it stands alone to show what the unassisted genius of the Italians could produce when influenced by mediæval ideas."
The stately cathedrals of Genoa, Prato, and Pisa are to some extent a preparation for that of Siena, but this is far more beautiful. Here the arches of the more northern cathedrals are seen lifted high into the air, and time has mellowed the white marble, which alternates with the black, into an exquisitely harmonious tint of brown. The long lines of pillars are only broken by the lovely pulpit of Niccolo Pisano, finished in 1268. This he made larger than his famous pulpit at Pisa, as was suited to the loftier church. He has repeated here his reliefs of the NaLIVING AGE. 446
tivity and Crucifixion from his Pisan pulpit, but has changed the treatment of the Adoration and the Last Judgment, and added the Massacre of the Innocents and the Flight into Egypt to his subjects. There are not so many tombs at Siena as in most Italian cathedrals, but statues commemorate those Popes who are especially connected with the town-Marcellus II, Paul V, Pius II, Pius III, Alexander III and Alexander VII; and above the arches the whole chronology of the Roman pontiffs is carried round the church. "Larger than life," as Symonds describes them, "white solemn faces they lean, each from his separate niche, crowned with the triple tiara, and labelled with the name he bore. Their accumulated majesty brings the whole past history of the Church into the presence of its living members. A bishop walking up the nave of Siena must feel as a Roman felt among the waxen images of ancestors renowned in council or in war. Of course the portraits are imaginary for the most part; though the artists have contrived to vary their features and expression with great skill."
But the great glory of the cathedral is its pavement, covered with the wonderful marble pictures designed by Beccafumi and his scholars, and filled with figures, many of them as grand as the sibyls and prophets of Michelangelo. Dante has been thought to have had this pavement in his mind when he wrote:
Monstran ancor lo duro pavimento; Qual di pennel fù maestro, a di stile, Che ritrahesse l'ombre e tratti, ch'
Mirar fariano uno 'ngegno sottile.
Other works of art are two marvellous panels by Duccio painted between 1308 and 1311, and filled with tiny pictures of the Passion of Christ. And we must not forget a St. Jerome and a Magda
len statue, which are amongst the best works of Bernini. Forsyth, who was such a capital critic, admired them greatly. "Here," he says, "the sweeping beard and cadaverous flanks of St. Jerome are set in contrast with the soft beauty of a Magdalene, which Bernini had transformed from an Andromeda, and thus left us the affliction of innocence for that of guilt."
Entered from the cathedral is the magnificent hall called the Libreria, because it is used to contain the splendid choir-books of the cathedral. The walls are surrounded by the frescoes which were ordered by Pius III to commemorate the eventful life of his maternal uncle, Pius II-Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who as a young manwas the ambassador from the Council of Basle to the King of Scotland, and was crowned as a poet by the Emperor Frederick III, and who, as Pope, built the wonderful town of Pienza, preached a crusade, and canonized St. Catherine of Siena. The frescoes, fresh as when they were painted, and a wonderful memorial of their times, are from the land of Pinturicchio. Rio and others have maintained that he was largely assisted by the youthful Raffaelle, but this ancient municipal tradition is now believed to have been a pure invention of Sienese vanity.
In the precincts of the upper church stand a number of interesting buildings, especially the Casa dell' Opera, containing a number of fine pieces of sculpture, and the Pellegrinajo, with very curious fifteenth-century frescoes of the temporal Works of Mercy. The wall of the unfinished nave ends in a glorious gothic door with twisted columns, whence a great marble staircase, in the open air, descends to the lower level of the town, from which we may enter, beneath the choir, the ancient Baptistery, or Church of S. Giovanni Battista.
Few interiors have more solemn
beauty, more exquisite ancient coloring than this. The once brilliant frescoes with which the walls and ceiling are covered are all subdued by age into a most harmonious whole, and out of the purple shadows rises the beautiful font of Giacomo della Quercia, set with bronze reliefs by the three great masters of his school-Ghiberti, Michelozzo and Donatello.
The cathedral which she loved so well is ever associated in the popular mind with St. Catherine of Siena, and the surrounding hills and valleys are redolent of her memory. As we follow the steep path from St. Giovanni, which descends into the valley beneath St. Domenico, we may remember that there the little Catherine, at seven years old, returning home from her married sister's house, with her little brother Stefano, sat down to rest upon the bank. There, as she gazed upon the church of St. Domenico opposite, she seemed to see the heavens opened and the Savior in glory, with St. Peter, St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist standing by His throne. Her little brother shook her, to rouse her from her ecstasy, and when she looked again the heavens had closed, the vision vanished, and she threw herself on the ground and wept bitterly. But from that time she was a changed child, became silent and thoughtful, prayed to follow her illustrious namesake, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and at eight years old-vowed to dedicate her life to perpetual charity.
Reaching the valley, and passing the gothic Fonte Branda, which was built in 1217 by one of the Brandi, and glancing at the sandstone rocks where the little St. Catherine made a hermitage for herself in childish imitation of the Thebaid, we come to a steep street. It was formerly the Contrada dell' Oca, but is now called Via Benincasa, for here, on the left, distinguished by its sculptural gable, rises the house of
Giacomo Benincasa, the dyer, the father of Catherine. Over the door is written, in letters of gold, "Sposae Christi Katharinae domus." Here she
was born in 1347, and here almost all of thirty-two years of her life were spent. Her veil, staff and lanthorn, her enamelled vinaigrette, her alms-bag, the sackcloth which she wore beneath her dress, and the crucifix from which she received the wounds of Christ are preserved here. Hence she went forth to preach, and to comfort and heal the plague-stricken; here, to drive out evil she would and corrupt thoughts, scourge herself at the foot of the chapel-altar, and then would call upon Christ, her heavenly Bridegroom, to help her, when she believed herself to be comforted by His visible presence. Hence, when the neighboring Florentines were excommunicated by Gregory XI, she set out on her wonderful mission to Avignon, to beseech the Pope to withdraw the ban, and spoke with such power, that he appointed her his arbitress, and left her to dictate the terms on which he should forgive his rebellious subjects. Hence, on her return, believing that much of the misery and misrule of Italy was owing to the absence of the Popes, she wrote those soul-stirring letters which induced the Pope and all his cardinals to return to Italy; and hence she went to meet him and escort him to Rome, keeping him there by her sole influence when he wanted to go back to Avignon in the following year. Here also she was appointed ambassadress to Naples by the next Pope, Urban VI, who owed his elevation to her influence. And here she died, her last words, as if in answer to an inward accuser, being "No! no! no!-not vainglory-not vainglory! -but the glory of God!"
To strangers many of the stories of St. Catherine may seem like records of visionary hallucinations, but to the Sienese of her own time they were
burning realities, and they are so still. "After the lapse of five centuries her votaries still kiss the floor and steps on which she trod, still say, "This was the wall on which she leant when Christ appeared; this is the corner where she clothed Him, naked and shivering like a beggar-boy; here He maintained her with angel's food.'"
The house of St. Catherine is now one of the great shrines of Italy, and contains a fine statue of the saint by Neroccio, and frescoes of her life by Pacchia, Pacchiarotti, Salimbeni, Fungai and Vanni. In the words of Lewis. Morris:
Dear spotless soul,
Still through thy house men go, and wondering mark
Thy place of prayer, thy chamber, and thy cell;
Here 'twas the Lord appeared, and gave to thee
His sacred heart. Here, in this very spot,
Thou clothedst Him as He sate in rags and seemed
A beggar. All the house is filled with thee
And the white simple story of thy life; Still, far above, the high church on the hill
Towers where, in prayer, thou seemedst to walk wrapt round By an ineffable Presence; thy low roof
Is grown as 'twere a shrine, where priest and man
And visionary girls from age to age Throng and repeat the self-same prayers, thyself
Didst offer year by year.
Now, treading in the footsteps of Catherine, we must follow her up the steep incline to St. Domenico, the great brick church which rises opposite to the cathedral, and which is such a conspicuous feature in most views of Siena, .for many of her visions and ecstasies took place here, and, though she never ceased to reside in her father's house, she took here the vows of a nun
of the third order of St. Dominic. One of the few authentic portraits of saints is that of St. Catherine, preserved over one of the altars, executed by her friend, Andrea Vanni, to whom she addressed still-existing letters of maternal advice, beginning, "Carissimo figliuolo in Cristo," and in one of which she urges him to obtain a good influence over those around him, adding, "but I do not see how we are to govern others unless we first learn to govern ourselves." The portrait gives a touching representation of her sweet but worn and ascetic features. Her black mantle is drawn around her. In one hand she holds a lily. The other is kissed by a votary, believed to be the repentant nun Palmerina, who had long harassed her life by calumnies. Weeping, the saint had here laid these wrongs at the feet of Christ. Then He appeared to her bearing two crowns, one of gold and jewels, the other of thorns, and bade her choose between them. She chose the thorns, and, with His own hand, He pressed them deep down upon her forehead. Thus Catherine knew to suffer in silence was her part, and such henceforth was her invincible sweetness and kindness to Palmerina, that in time she repented of her misdeeds.
The Cappella di S. Caterina is full of frescoes of the story of the saint's life, of which two beautiful incidents are shown in the finest works of Sodoma. One tells the story of Tuldo, the criminal, who, condemned to execution, refused to confess that he was guilty, and thus to receive absolution, till he was converted by Catherine. When his last hour came she met him on the scaffold, saluting him as her "sweet brother," and it was her hand that placed his neck upon the block, where the last words he uttered were the names of Jesus and of Catherine.
In the other picture, perhaps the masterpiece of the artist, Christ suddenly appears in glory, and Catherine swoons in the arms of her sister-nuns, the expression of anxious reverence in their faces, and of fainting through happiness on the features of Catherine, being alike incomparable.
There is a delightful picture gallery, there are a hundred other sights in hillset Siena, and the town is a startingplace for some of the most interesting excursions in Italy; but the Cathedral, the House of St. Catherine and St. Domenico are three sights closely enwoven with each other, which not even the most passing travellers must miss. Augustus J. C. Hare.
LITTLE IN CHRIST'S HANDS GOES FAR.
Yield thy poor best and muse not how or why,
A mighty crowd and marvellously fed,
Thy heart break out into a bitter cry,
"I might have furnished, I, yea, even I,
The two small fishes and the barley bread."
CECIL RHODES AND THE GOVERNOR.
They had crossed from Robben
Island to the mainland overnight, seven in number, and the youngest was a baby, and they came in a box with net nailed over it, and a few leaves and branches round which they could clasp their tiny hands and twist their supple tails.
For they were chameleons, and life had hitherto been spent by them in the blue hedges of plumbago, or in the glorious creepers and plants on the island, and the sadness of the surroundings did not affect them.
What does a chameleon care if the human beings who inhabit his island are lunatics, lepers and convicts, as long as there are plenty of flies to be had and broad stoeps to afford shelter in the cold weather?
But these seven chameleons would never see Robben Island again, so with philosophic calm they adapted themselves to their new circumstances. A night and a day in the Archdeacon's greenhouse-a day during which rain fell in torrents that will not soon be forgotten in Capetown, and business men had to paddle home through the streets bare-foot.
The steamer could not be laden with cargo in this flood, so it was a day late in starting, and on the morrow the Archdeacon brought the box on board just before the whistle sounded for departure.
He assured me that they had had plenty of flies, and would do well till the next day, so I left them in my cabin till we were well out at sea, then I took them up on deck.
The six grown chameleons, of varied green hue, marked with rose-color or yellow, were in excellent health, and cast one eye north and another south,
with the dispassionate manner peculiar to their race.
But the baby was dead.
There it lay, in its inch-and-a-half of lifeless prettiness, this baby too young and helpless to come from its fair, sunny home, to the restless motion of the Avondale Castle.
Alas! it had to be buried at sea, and its parents, uncles and aunts, took their loss calmly and heroically.
It was not to be expected that the presence of six chameleons on board would be unattended with excitement, and soon all the first-class passengers surrounded them and asked every question that could possibly be asked about them, after which their progress began through the second and third class.
One second-class passenger had a formidable rival in a merecat, a creature very like a squirrel; but there was a novelty in my pets, and the children all crowded round, saying, "Put it on my frock," "Look at its little hand," "What will they eat?"
This was a question which was beginning to exercise my mind, for flies were getting scarce on board. In the third-class the passengers were full of interest and suggestions. They were mostly soldiers from Mauritius with their families, and they were all emphatic in saying they had never seen such small chameleons-those in Malta and Mauritius were much larger.
I could not profess to be an authority on chameleons, so I gave a practical turn to the discussion by asking if any one could catch a fly, and soon a sergeant appeared with one, but my family would not eat, though the fly was put just in front of them.
How little I knew then that the closeness of the fly was the reason that