THE collection of pictures in the Pitti was made wholly by the Medici, who, about the year 1646, after they had become sovereign princes, brought them to this palace, which was then converted into a royal residence. Pietro da Cortona, and another artist, Cyrus Ferri, were employed to decorate the magnificent suite of rooms which were destined to contain the chefs-d’oeuvres of the greatest masters in painting. All these pictures belong to the best period of Tuscan art, and to the second Revival ; but in the smaller rooms, parallel with the suite towards the Piazza, are excellent specimens of works by earlier artists.
The numbers begin with the pictures of the latest school ; and in the furthest room, which is called the Sala di Venus, Pietro da Cortona, wishing to flatter the reigning Medici, painted on the ceiling allegorical scenes and personages symbolical of the virtues of their ancestor, the Grand Duke Cosimo I., who appears as a youth, protected and specially favoured by the gods.
Two splendid sea-pieces by Salvator Rosa (16151673) are placed opposite one another. The sea and sky have the glow and melting softness of Claude Lorraine, but the figures are more carefully drawn and are grouped naturally in easy attitudes ; those especially of the picture to the right are admirably placed ; the drawing is spirited, and the colour forcible. Duplicity, composed of two figures, is by the same master.
Two landscapes by Rubens (1577-1640), facing the windows, are in a very different style from the sea pieces of Salvator, though they are painted with equal freedom. The town, on a bay, with mountains in the foreground, is apparently taken from Genoa. The Flemish scene is fresh with breezy clouds, corn-fields, hedges, and trees.
A very fine portrait by Franz Porbus the Younger (1570-1622), evidently of a Fleming or Englishman.
A good picture by Francesco Bassano the Younger (15481591) represents the Martyrdom of St. Catharine. Francesco was the son of the more celebrated Jacopo, and the brother of Leandro Bassano. He was inclined to exaggerate the chiaroscuro of his pictures.
At the farther end of the room, on the wall next the door, is a splendid portrait of an old man by Rembrandt probably his father.
The Marriage of St. Catharine, by Titian (1477-1576), is inferior to the same subject in the National Gallery of London.
A very lovely portrait of Eleanora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino, misnamed the Bella di Tiziano, is by the same master. Her portrait, when older, with that of her husband, is in the room of Venetian paintings in the Uffizi Gallery. When this picture was taken to Paris in the last century the background was repainted, and part of the veil which hung behind the face destroyed.
A good Florentine picture of the Revival faces the second window. It represents the Triumph of David, and is by Matteo Rosselli (1578-1650). The movement of the figures is well expressed, but the heads, though not without beauty of feature, are insipid, and the clear bright colour has a certain prettiness, inappropriate to a subject taken from sacred story. Matteo Rosselli and Jacopo da Empoli may be regarded as the colourists of this school; they endeavoured to modify the exclusive attention paid to anatomy and drawing, which, in the hands of the followers of Michael Angelo, had become pedantic and exaggerated.
On the same wall is a graceful Tuscan picture by Francesco Curradi (1570-1661): Narcissus represented as a peasant lad at the Fountain’. Between the windows is a picture by Cigoli (15591613) of the Saviour appearing to St. Peter Walking on the Water. Though hung in an obscure place, this is one of the best pictures of the master, and is a work of considerable power, with more nature and expression than is usual with the school, whose principal merit is correct drawing and strict obedience to rule.
The ceiling of the next room, the Sala di Apollo, was chiefly painted by Cyrus Ferri. Near the window is the portrait of the Archbishop Bartolini Salimbeni, by Girolamo da Carpi, of the Ferrarese school (15011556). The archbishop was of the Florentine family whose palace, now forming part of the Hôtel de l’Europe, in the Via Porta Rossa, is still distinguished by the Salimbeni poppy. He was appointed administrator of the Pisan Church by Pope Leo X., and Archbishop of Malaga by Charles V., and he was buried in the Campo Santo of Pisa.
Over the door is a picture by Jacopo Palma il Vecchio, of Venice (14801528), of the Supper at Emmaus ; it is an excel-lent example of the master, very rich in colour, and with a lovely landscape background. A Holy Family is by Agnolo Bronzino (1502-1572), and near it, below, is the portrait of Pope Leo X. by Raffaelle (14831520) ; to the right of the Pope is his cousin, Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici, afterwards Clement VII. ; to his left Cardinal Luigi de’ Rossi, the Pope’s secretary. Leo has been described as having a large head with coarse features and complexion, and with prominent short-sighted eyes ; but the painter has in this picture also conveyed the idea of the man of cultivated tastes and luxurious habits for which he was celebrated. He is seated at a table with an illuminated missal before him and a silver bell ; his attitude is dignified, and his hands, of which he was extremely vain, are beautiful. The picture was painted about 1518 ; there is a copy by Andrea del Sarto at Naples, so exact that it deceived Raffaelle’s scholar, Giulio Romano, who supposed it was the original which Ottaviano de’ Medici, by order of Pope Clement VII., had promised to bestow on the Duke of Mantua.
The Hospitality of St. Julian is by Cristofano Allori (15771621). The legend of St. Julian is as follows :As an act of penance the saint became a ferryman, and one night he brought a youth across the river whom he discovered to be a leper. The wife of St. Julian, however, received the sick man into their house, and they laid him on their bed. The next morning the leper was transfigured before them, and appeared as an angel, bringing pardon for past sins.’ This picture is considered as the chef-d’oeuvre of Allori. The original drawing for the man with the oar in his hand, is in the Gallery of the Uffizi.
Beneath this is a Head of Mary Magdalene, by Pietro Perugino (14461523) ; very sweet in expression, drawn and painted with great softness, although rather the portrait of a lovely woman than the ideal representation of a penitent sinner; and a portrait by Franciabigio (14821525), the friend and brother-artist of Andrea del Sarto : the black under-tint has come to the surface, and injured the picture, which is finely executed, and has an agreeable landscape background.
St. Francis in Prayer, by Ludovico Cardi or Cigoli (15591613) is full of deep feeling ; the rocky scenery of La Vernia forms the background. This is one of the most touching and beautiful pictures by the artist. Above it is a Holy Family by Ventura Salimbeni of Sienna (r557-16r3). On the second wall the Infant Prince Leopold de’ Medici, afterwards Cardinal, is by Tiberio Titi (1578-1637), the son of Santo di Titi. This Prince was the son of the Grand Duke Cosimo II. by the Grand Duchess Maria Maddalena of Austria. He became a Cardinal, and devoted his life to the study of literature and art. He made the collection of portraits in the Uffizi Gallery, and died in 1675.
Facing the window is a large picture of the Deposition by Cigoli ; it is carefully drawn and composed, and the figure of the Virgin very beautiful.
A fine portrait of the poet Pietro Aretino, the illegitimate son of a gentleman of Arezzo (born in 1492), is by Titian. He wrote a treatise against the system of Papal Indulgences, which caused his banishment from his native city, but Pope Clement VII. allowed him to reside in Rome, where his talents ensured him a favourable reception. Though his satirical writings were directed against those in power, and obtained for him the name of `the Scourge of Princes,’ he contrived to secure the favour and patronage of the greatest monarchs of the age Francis I. lavished gifts on him, and Charles V. presented him with a valuable gold chain. He composed a paraphrase of the Seven Psalms, and several religious works. Some of his publications had, however, an immoral tendency, and caused so much scan-dal that the Pope was at length obliged to banish him from Rome. He was intimate with the Grand Duke Cosimo I., to whom he sent this picture, in which the gift of the Emperor is represented. He writes to Cosimo, `Surely I breathe here ; the blood circulates, and I see my living self in a painting ; had I given the artist a few more crowns he would have be-stowed more pains on the material of the dress, the silk, the velvet, and brocade ; I say nothing of the chain, for it is indeed painted : sic transit gloria mundi.’
In the same letter Aretino alludes to the picture, by Titian, now in the room of Venetian masters in the Uffizi Gallery, of Giovanni delle Bande Nere, the father of Cosimo, under whom Aretino had served, and who had made his peace with the Pope. The two portraits appear to have been painted about the same time ; but Aretino declares the artist had left that of Giovanni unfinished, because he was tempted to Rome by the offer of greater remuneration from Paul III. (Alexander Farnese).
Beneath this is a portrait, by Federigo Baroccio (1528-1612), of the Infant-Prince Frederick, of Urbino, the son of Francesco Maria II., Duke of Urbino, and of the Princess Claudia, daughter of the Grand Duke Ferdinand, I., of Tuscany. Frederick of Urbino was father of the Princess Vittoria della Rovere, who married her cousin the Grand Duke Ferdinand II., and brought a valuable collection of pictures to Florence, as her dowry.
The Madonna della Lucertola (the Lizard), is a copy of a picture by Raffaelle, attributed to Giulio Romano, but doubtful.
The Madonna del Rosario (the Rosary), by Murillo (1613-1685), is a most lovely composition.
A large picture of a Pietà, by Andrea del Sarto (1488-1530), is one of his finest compositions ; the colouring is rich, the drawing masterly, especially in the foreshortening, and in the body of the Saviour, which is extended on a white cloth ; the impression left on the spectator, however, is cold, from the figures appearing to have been painted separately from models. Cavalcaselle describes this picture as `a composition according to the correct rules, very dramatic and powerful, in which even the merit of originality cannot be denied. The Michael Angelesque fibre in it shows strength ; and the cleverness with which Andrea presents a scene, in its movements forcible yet human and familiar, in its expression realistic, yet sufficiently elevated, is greatly to be praised.’ This picture was painted in 1524, for a convent in the Mugello, where Andrea had sought refuge from the plague, then raging in Florence.
Beneath, are the portraits of Maddalena and Angelo Doni, by Raffaelle. The lady was of the wealthy family of Strozzi, and was married to a rich Florentine, Doni, the patron of Raffaelle. There is nothing ideal in either portrait ; both are faithful renderings of truth. The hands are studied care fully, and the dress and jewels are finished with attention to detail ; the landscape background is clear and pure, and, though light, retreats behind the full-coloured forms. The countenances of Doni and his wife are serious ; Maddalena’s is expressive of goodness, whilst there is more force and talent in the face of Angelo. In both there is a defect in the perspective, the farther eye being placed too high. They were painted during Raffaelle’s second visit to Florence, when he was still very young, and had not yet attempted portraits.
Between these pictures is a splendid portrait of a young man in armour, by Rembrandt, said to be of himself.
High on the wall to the left is a Holy Family, painted by Andrea, in 1521, for Zanobi Bracci, at the time when the artist was employed by Ottaviano de’ Medici in the decorations of the Palace of Poggio a Caiano for Leo X. The children, especially St. John, are easy and graceful. The Virgin gazes at her Son with a sweet and happy countenance ; the colour is rich and warm, and the group natural, without any attempt at scientific display.
Beneath this is a Madonna and Child, by Murillo. The Child stands on His Mother’s knee and rests His right arm on her bosom. She has the refinement and modest girl-like simplicity, with which this Spanish artist usually represents her.
A Pietâ over the door, is by Fra Bartolommeo (1475-1517). The expression of the dead Christ is touchingly beautiful, mild, dignified, and sad. The gentle resignation of the sorrowing Virgin, and the passionate grief of the Magdalene, who clasps His feet, are given with the simple truth of nature. The colour is pure and correct.
Near the window is a portrait of Andrea del Sarto, by himself, and beneath it, a Magdalene, by Titian. This picture has obtained a great reputation, though it has suffered severely from the hand of the cleaner. A still more beautiful representation of the same subject by this great artist, is in the Durazzo Gallery at Genoa, and there was a third in Venice which has been sold into Prussia. In both these last pictures the Magdalene has less regularity of features, but greater nature and beauty of expression than the Magdalene of the Pitti. A large altar-piece between the windows represents San Filippo Neri kneeling before the altar, where the Virgin and Child appear to him surrounded by angels, and with the Apostles Peter and Paul, accompanied by Mary Magdalene : this fine picture is by Carlo Maratta (1625-1713), who belonged to the Roman school.
The ceiling of the adjoining room, the Sala di Marte, was painted by Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669), during the reign of the Medicean Grand Duke Ferdinand II. The arms of the Medici are in the centre and Mars, accompanied by Hercules, Victory, &c., symbolise the warlike achievements of the Grand Ducal family.
In a dark corner, near the entrance, is the portrait of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, by Adrian van der Werff (1659-1722).
The portrait of Pope Julius II., by Raffaelle, is a repetition of the fine portrait in the Tribune of the Uffizi Gallery.
High on the wall is the portrait of a Belgian anatomist, Andrea Vesale, by Titian. Vesale was accused of homicide, and condemned to death, for having opened the body of a Spanish gentleman ; Philip II. commuted his sentence into banishment.’
Beneath this picture is a most lovely Holy Family, by Andrea del Sarto ; the Virgin is simple and dignified, though without classical beauty ; and the children are animated and drawn with grace and power. The Christ sits astride on His Mother’s knee, and looks back to listen to the eager words of St. John, who leans over the lap of Elizabeth. The colours are agreeable, and melt into one another ; the outline is almost lost ; there is great breadth as well as softness in the chiaroscuro.
The portrait of Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, next Andrea’s Holy Family, is by Vandyke (1599-1641), and may be compared with the portraits of Titian, not only in the quiet dignity, character, and elegance of composition, for which Vandyke was himself remarkable, but in truth of flesh tints, and warmth of colour. Cardinal Bentivoglio was born at Ferrara of an ancient Bolognese family in 1619. When only nineteen years of age he was appointed secretary to Pope Clement VII., and was sent later by Pope Paul V. as Papal Nuncio to Flanders. Though one of the judges of Galileo at Rome, he had not the power to prevent his condemnation. He wrote the `History of the War in the Netherlands,’ and his own memoirs, and died in 1644.
Beneath this is Luigi Cornaro, the splendid portrait of a Venetian nobleman, by Titian. Cornaro died at the age of ninety-six. His youth was spent in dissipation, but he early reformed his life, and in 1558 he wrote a treatise on sobriety. He was greatly and universally respected, and was held in high honour by his fellow-citizens. The large, penetrating, dark eyes, and the finely-cut moveable nostrils, bespeak a quick and fiery nature, whilst the high forehead, thoughtful brow, the firm lips, and dignified deportment, to which may be added the well-ordered dress, are significant of a wise and resolute character, as well as of that taste and refinement which belong to a true gentleman. The picture is full of life, and it is impossible to say what is most worthy of admirationthe correct drawing, the reality of the flesh tints, or the great painter’s power in expressing the mind of the sitter.
Facing the window is a Holy Family, by Palma Vecchio. The Child holds a globe, which he is presenting to an unknown personage, possibly some Venetian navigator, who kneels before him. To the right is St. Elizabeth ; St. John the Baptist with clasped hands contemplates the Infant Christ.
The fine picture below, by Rubens (1577-1640), has portraits of himself and his brother, and of the philosophers Lipsius and Grotius. They are seated at a table, with a bust of Seneca in a niche behind them, and a landscape background. Whilst Rubens was celebrated as a diplomatist as well as painter, his brother and Justus Lipsius were equally remark-able as philologists. Lipsius became professor of history at Leyden, and subsequently at Louvain ; he was appointed historiographer to Philip II., and created a councillor of state by the Archduke Albert ; in his old age he abjured the Protestant religion, and died a Roman Catholic in 1606. Hugo Grotius, the son of a burgomaster of Delft, in Holland, was born in 1583, and was sent, when a youth, in the Dutch ambassador’s suite to France ; he was already so distinguished for learning that King Henry IV., as a token of his admiration, bestowed on him a gold chain, at the same time calling him `the marvel of Holland.’ He was afterwards condemned for his religious opinions to imprisonment in the fortress of Loevenstein, from whence he escaped by the assistance of his wife, and fled to France, where he received a pension from the king. After a vain attempt to return to Holland, he entered the service of Queen Christina of Sweden and her minister Oxenstiern, and died at Dantzic in 1645. In this picture, the artist, Peter Paul Rubens, is seen in three-quarter face, with red moustaches, his hand resting on his hip ; his brother Philip is beside him, holding a pen. Justus Lipsius has a long beard and short hair ; his forefinger rests upon a book. Grotius is in profile, with moustaches and barbe-royale. The character and power displayed in this picture gives it a place beside the noble portraits of Titian, though the rich and varied colours in which Rubens delighted, hardly suit the gravity of the persons represented.
The large picture in the centre of the wall is an Allegory, also by Rubens, in which he has revelled in wondrous sunlights and bright colours. The subject is Peace and War. The restless spirit and gigantic power of the master is displayed in size of muscle, violent action, contrasts of storm and sunshine, astonishing breadth of light and shade, in deep full colour and warm shadow, intended to give full value to the dazzling brilliancy of his lights on the fair skins of women and children. There is nothing to interest or please in this picture, and its sole attraction is the example it presents of the qualities peculiar to Rubens. The original sketch is in the National Gallery of London, bequeathed by the poet Samuel Rogers.
Two oblong paintings containing many figures, and both charming in colour, are by Andrea del Sarto ; they represent the History of Joseph, and may be considered as one picture. In the first is Jacob and Rachel with Joseph, who is relating his dreams to his parents ; Jacob and Rachel send Joseph to his brethren ; the brethren put Joseph into the well ; they sell him to the merchants, and one of them in the foreground is showing his blood-stained garment to their father. In the second painting Pharaoh is seen asleep ; the curtains of his bed are sustained by two boy-genii ; behind are seen the fat and lean kine, and in front the ears of corn ; at the top of the staircase leading to Pharaoh’s palace, Joseph is led to prison, and again below he is brought before Pharaoh ; Pharaoh listens to Joseph’s interpretation of his dreams ; Pharaoh names him governor, and bestows on him a gold chain ; two children are playing with a dog in the foreground, and there is a lovely landscape background, with architecture, figures, &c. Both these pictures, as well as similar pictures in the Uffizi Gallery, by Jacopo Pontormo, were painted for Francesco Borgherini upon his marriage.
A Repose in Egypt, by Paris Bordone (1513-1588), is a good Venetian picture.
The last work of importance on this wall is the Ecce Homo of Cigoli, in which the noble dignity of the Saviour and his patient endurance of suffering is in touching contrast with the vulgar countenances of his persecutors ; the traces of the scourging are given with painful reality; the picture is finely drawn and coloured, and is an excellent example of the master.
The fine portrait by Titian of a gentleman, on the third wall, is one of the most interesting pictures in this collection ; the finely cut features, oval contour of the face, firm set mouth, and the stern expression in his clear blue eyes, with his dignified demeanour, give the impression of a man accustomed to command, and of a cold, though refined, nature.
St. Francis in Prayer, by Rubens, is above the Titian; it is a good study of a peasant, and inferior in poetic sentiment to the same subject, already mentioned, by Cigoli.
The Holy Family, known as the Madonna dell’ Impannata, from the white cloth pannoused instead of glass for the window in the background, is by Raffaelle ; the composition is wholly his, as well as the painting of the head of the Child, whom Elizabeth is restoring to the Virgin ; the rest of the picture was probably painted by one of Raffaelle’s scholars ; the expression of Elizabeth is fine, and full of feeling; the other female heads, as well as that of St. John, are feeble and cold.
The Sacrifice of Abraham is a good picture by Cristofano Allori(15771621) ; in colour resembling the painting by Matteo Rosselli ; and Judith with the Head of Holofernes is also by Allori. Judith is supposed to be a portrait of Bronzino’s mistress, and the old woman to be her mother. The arms of Judith, extended and foreshortened, are finely drawn, and her head and figure are grand and powerful. The golden silk of which her dress is composed is painted with marvellous clearness and vigour, and the whole colour is rich and harmonious. The Head of Holofernes is said to be a portrait of Allori him-self.
An Annunciation, by Andrea del Sarto, is good in colour, but feeble in composition ; Joseph stands beside the Virgin, who starts back as two angels approach, one of whom bears the lily. This picture has been much repainted.
A good portrait of Galileo is by Sustermans (15241591) ; his telescope is seen below, near the frame : this likeness of the philosopher appears to have been taken later than the portrait by the same master in the Uffizi Gallery.
The ceiling of the Sala di Giove was also painted by Pietro da Cortona ; Hercules and Fortune present the youthful Prince Cosimo, the son of Ferdinand II., to Jove, as a future hero ; he inscribes the Medicean initial on a shield, and the gods minister to him.
A statue of Victory, by the modern sculptor Consani, is in the centre of the room. The goddess is seated on a rock, and is inscribing upon her shield the words, ` Montebello, Palestro Curtatone,’ where the Tuscan youth fell in the struggle for Italian independence.
In the corner between the entrance and the window is the portrait of a lady in a crimson satin dress by Paris Bordone (1513-1588), said to be. that of a nurse of the Medici children; beneath it is a sketch by Titian for part of the picture of Bacchus and Ariadne in the National Gallery of London.
Over the door is a picture by Salvator Rosa (16151673) of the Conspiracy of Catiline.
To the right of the entrance is the most celebrated picture in this room; the Three Fates, by Michael Angelo (1475-1564). They are all taken from one old woman, represented in different attitudes ; Clotho holds the spindle, off which she spins the thread of life; Lachesis twists the yarn in her fingers, and Atropos prepares to cut it with her scissors. A romantic tale is told relating to this picture. During the siege of Florence, in 1529, when Michael Angelo was conducting the defensive operations, an old woman is supposed to have presented herself before the municipality, and offered her son to fight for his native city; the great artist, it is further said, was so struck with her countenance that he has recorded it in this picture. The story is, however, probably a fiction, and it is even uncertain whether the picture itself is by the hand of Michael Angelo. `Severe, keen, and characteristic,’ as Kugler describes it, he does not consider it a genuine work of the master ; there is a want of variety of attitude and countenance, and even an exaggeration of form, as well as a certain meagreness, which Michael Angelo would hardly have imitated, far less invented.
A large battle-piece is by Jacopo Cortese, called the Borgognone (1621-1676), a native of France. Beyond this picture high on the wall is a portrait of Vittoria della Rovere, the wife of the Grand Duke Ferdinand II., by Sustermans, and below it are somewhat doubtful portraits of Andrea del Sarto and his wife.
On the wall is a clever portrait, by Domenico Morone, of Verona, born in 1430, of a man’s head, and a small picture, by Benvenuto Tisio, called Garofolo (1481-1559), of the Sibyl revealing the story of the Incarnation to the Emperor Augustus.
The Virgin in Glory, with four Saints below, is a composition by Andrea del Sarto, who died when it was only begun to be put on canvas ; the picture was finished ten years later by a certain Vincenzio, called Morgante Bonilli of Poppi, which accounts for the contrast between the upper and lower part. The kneeling St. Catharine is the best figure in the group ; the Virgin, though not beautiful, is well placed ; a kneeling and seated angel with scrolls in their hands are on either side of her.
Over the adjoining door is a most beautiful Annunciation by Andrea. The Virgin stands in an attitude of suspense, looking back at the angel ; she holds a book in her left hand, and raises the forefinger of the right, as if questioning. The archangel, a lovely and graceful figure, kneels and looks at her with earnest appealing gaze ; two angels stand behind ; the architecture and landscape background is extremely beautiful, and the warm colour in the foreground is carried out by the red mantles of the figures leaning over the balcony in an adjoining house. Cavalcaselle thus describes this picture : The mode in which the angel is presented recalls Fra BartoIommeo. But the movement and lines, though soft and gentle, are unconstrained and free, as in Del Sarto’s own creation, the Nativity, at the Servi. The Virgin is most dignified in air and pose. Decorum and grave beauty are almost as combined as in Della Porta, without the emptiness which grew to a defect with Andrea’s later years ; the colour is rich, and in good keeping with a landscape full of atmosphere.’
St. Mark, a colossal figure by Fra Bartolommeo, is a gigantic and powerful figure, grand in drawing and composition. He is seated in a niche, holding his gospel and pen with both hands, whilst looking back, lost in contemplation. The picture was placed over the entrance to the choir of St. Mark, but after the demolition of the choir, which was in the centre of the church, it was bought by Prince Ferdinand de’ Medici, and in 1799 was taken to Paris, where it was transferred from wood to canvas.
A man’s portrait, by Philippe de Champagne (1602-1674), and another portrait by Morone, are both excellent pictures.
A small but interesting picture below of the Woman taken in Adultery, is by Mazzolino da Ferrara (1481-1530).
In the centre of the third wall is a large battle-piece, by Salvator Rosa, and below it, a smaller picture of the same subject, superior to the larger ; both are full of life and spirit, and are among the best works of the master.
Over the door is a Meet of Huntsmen, by Giovanni di San Giovanni (1590-1636), a Florentine painter of the second revival ; the heads are very spirited.
Between the door and windows is the portrait of Guidobaldo II., Duke of Urbino, the grandfather of Vittoria della Rovere, by Federigo Zuccaro, a painter of the Roman school (1539-1609). Beside it is a Holy Family, by Rubens ; the colouring of the children is very lovely.
Below is the portrait of a lady, by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). A most exquisitely finished painting; the drawing is careful, though hard in outline, caused by cleaning ; the lip: are just closed, the eyes calm, the nostril delicate ; her grave and gentle deportment, the head gracefully bent, and the perfect simplicity and dignified composure, mark a woman of noble mind and training. She bears a missal in her left hand which as well as the right, is beautifully painted. In the landscape, seen between two open arches, is a walled town and distant hills.
Between the windows is a picture, by Giovan Battista Franco (1498-1561), of the Battle of Montemurlo, by which the Grand Duke Cosimo I. destroyed his enemies, and secured his seat on the throne of Tuscany.
The Sala di Saturno, the ceiling of which is also painted by Pietro da Cortona and represents Saturn with Mars, and an allegorical figure of Prudence, has to the right of the door on entering, the celebrated picture of the Madonna della Seggiola, by Raffaelle, painted entirely by his own hand, probably in the year 1510, when he was engaged with the fresco of the School of Athens in the Vatican. The Virgin is not divine, but she is the perfection of womanly beauty and modesty, as well as of maternal tenderness. The Child is grand in form and expression, although the rounded limbs and features, and the clinging action, are wholly infantine ; the earnest, yet childlike worship of the little St. John is no less appropriate and excellent. The composition is simple, the colour rich, and the heads of the Virgin and Child are highly finished, whilst the rest of the picture is painted with great freedom, yet softness produced without scumbling, and leaving the outlines distinct.
Above this picture is a fine portrait of Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici, by Jacopo Pontormo (1494-1557). His hand rests on the head of a dog, which is painted with much life and power. Ippolito was the natural son of Giulio de’ Medici, Duke of Nemours, whose monument by Michael Angelo is in the Sacristy of San Lorenzo : he was educated by his uncle Leo X. ; and although his tastes led him to prefer a secular to an ecclesiastical career, he was forced to enter the Church and accept a cardinal’s hat. He diedit is supposed by poisonin 1535.
Near it are very beautiful portraits of Charles I. of England, and Henrietta Maria, by Vandyke.
The Death of Abel is a large and very powerfully painted picture, by Andrea Schiavone (15221582). Beneath it is one of the most lovely compositions of Carlo Dolce (16161686), John the Baptist when a child asleep, watched over by Elizabeth. The tranquil sleep of infancy is beautifully given, and the colouring and chiaroscuro have the fulness and power of Ludovico Caracci. Santa Rosa, by the same artist, has his usual qualities of sweetness and finish, with insipidity.
Beyond the picture of Schiavone, near the corner, is the portrait of Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi of Bibbiena, by Raffaelle. It is a most wonderfully life-like picture of an astute, polished ecclesiastic, mild but determined ; his hands are very elegantly formed, and rich with jewels. The picture is only in part by Raffaelle, who executed another some years later, which is now in the Museum at Madrid. The cardinal was the son of poor parents in the Casentino, a valley behind the mountains of Vallombrosa, and he took the name of Bibbiena from his native city. He began life as tutor to the sons of Lorenzo de’ Medici, who had already secured the services of his brother as secretary. When Bibbiena’s pupil became Pope Leo X. (1515), he was created a cardinal. He died suddenly at Rome in 1520. Paolo Giovio, the historian, whose monument is in the Cloister of San Lorenzo, attributes the death of the cardinal to poison in a dish of new-laid eggs.
Above this picture is the Three Ages of Man, by Lorenzo Lotto, the Venetian (c. 14801554).
On the second wall is a picture, by Fra Bartolommeo, Christ Rising from the Tomb, with the Evangelists on either side. The two prophets, Job and Isaiah, now in ‘the Tribune of the Uffizi Gallery, were painted as appendages to this altar-piece, which was intended for the SS. Annunziata of Florence. In His left hand the Saviour holds the sceptre, with the globe surmounted by the cross, and He raises His right to bless. His countenance is mild and noble, His attitude dignified, and the flowing lines of His white drapery add to the majesty of His appearance. With the exception of a defect in the right arm, the drawing is very fine. The arm of St. Matthew is boldly fore-shortened ; St. John is beside him ; St. Luke and St. Mark are on the other side ; all four are powerful figures ; the draperies are grandly composed, and we may perceive in them the, example Raffaelle followed in his later works. The two little angels below, who support a picture of the world on which rests the sacramental cup, are most lovely ; the colour is sober, but fine. This picture was painted in 1515, soon after Fra Bartolommeo had lost his best beloved friend, Mariotto Albertinelli.’
The paintings of Giorgione are so rare, and can so seldom be authenticated, that the pictures bearing his name in this room are very doubtful. Near the Fra Bartolommeo is Moses taken from the Nile, presented to Pharaoh’s daughter, attributed to Giorgione; it is fine in colour, and has an exceedingly lovely landscape background. The figures. are drawn with spirit and grace, and the picture is probably a sketch for some larger work, or may have formed part of a bridal chest.
A head of Francesco della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, husband of the beautiful Eleanora Gonzaga, and father of Vittoria della Rovere, is by Federigo Baroccio.
An Annunciation, by Andrea del Sarto, the third in this gallery, was painted for Giuliano della Scala, to be placed in a chapel of the SS. Annunziata.
The Deposition from the Cross, by Pietro Perugino, a noble yet simple composition, is in the tender, sweet, and earnest manner of the Umbrian School, with careful and some-what academical treatment. It was in this picture that Perugino, in 1495, presented an example of landscape painting to the Florentines, such as had never before been seen in Florence, Vasari speaks of the brilliancy of the general tones and of the backgrounds, which are still preserved in all the charm of freshness, in spite of time and repairs. The Umbrian School directed their attention especially to landscape, and Perugino made the best of his opportunities in studying earlier and contemporary masters in the same line. The countenance of the women, varying in intensity of grief, from that of the Virgin to the other Maries, is full of touching truth to nature, without exaggeration.
Beyond this is the Madonna del Baldacchino, by Raffaelle, executed on his return from Rome, after he had painted his first large composition of the Entombment of Christ. He had studied the grand treatment of drapery with Fra Bartolommeo, and in return he had imparted to Bartolommeo the knowledge of perspective, which he had acquired in the school of Perugino ; in this picture, which Raffaelle painted for the Florentine family of Dei, to be placed in Santo Spirito, he endeavoured to imitate Fra Bartolommeo ; and it may be compared with the Madonna by that great artist in the Academy. The Virgin, seated on a throne, holds the Child on her knee, who looks back naïvely at the Apostle Peter, standing beside St. Bruno ; St. James the Less and St. Augustus are on the opposite side. Two angels support the canopy above the Virgin and Child, and two other most lovely infants stand below, one having his arm round the other’s neck, and sing praises. The picture was left unfinished, which is evident from the weak face and figure of St. James, and was sold by Raffaelle’s scholars, Giulio Romano and Giovan Francesco Penni, to Baldassare Turini, who conveyed it to his city of Pescia, from whence it was afterwards brought to the Pitti. The head and figure of the Virgin is extremely lovely and graceful, and quite in Raffaelle’s own style, and it is only in the composition and draperies that we discover the influence of Fra Bartolommeo.
Apollo and the Muses dancing in a circle on the top of Mount Parnassus, a golden sunlight in the background, is by Giulio Romano (14921546); this truly magical group seems to float in the graceful movement of the dance. In the portrait of Tommaso de Phædra Inghirami, Raffaelle’s faithful adherence to nature is shown in the squint and the coarse features, as much as in the large, fat, yet delicately white hands of Inghirami, all painted with the highest finish. The clever expression of the face compensates for want of beauty ; the drawing is careful, and the composition and colour simple. The dress is that worn by Inghirami when he acted as secretary to the conclave of cardinals which elected Giovanni de’ Medici Pope, as Leo X. Inghirami belonged to an ancient family of Volterra, and when only an infant he lost his father, and was brought to Florence, where he was placed under Medicean protection. At thirteen he was sent to Rome, where his remarkable powers were developed, and he was celebrated for his great learning. On one occasion he performed in Seneca’s tragedy of ` Hippolytus,’ before the Cardinal di San Giorgio ; the part assigned to Inghirami was Phædra ; the piece having been interrupted by an accident to the machinery, he came forward and amused the company by improvising Latin verses ; he was applauded and called for in his character of Phædra, and the name was ever afterwards attached to his own. Passavant remarks the full daylight effect of this picture, and the fine modelling, with the tenderest fusion, which strikingly recall Hans Holbein’s method, although Raffaelle could not have seen any work of the German master, since Holbein was at that time only fifteen years of age. The flat treatment of the accessories leads to the conclusion that this part of the picture is by the hand of a scholar.
In the centre of this wall is the Dispute of the Holy Trinity, one of Andrea del Sarto’s most celebrated pictures, equally fine in composition, drawing, colour, and expression.
The head and action of the youthful St. Lawrence, who stands in the centre and carries his gridiron, is extremely beautiful and dignified. St. Augustine and San Piero Martire pursue the discussion with animation ; St. Francis listens meekly ; he has one hand on his breast, in the other he carries his Institutes ; St. Sebastian, half clothed, the back finely painted, kneels at the feet of St. Augustine ; Mary Magdalene, a lovely portrait of Andrea’s wife, holds her vase of ointment, and, with lips apart, in the act of listening, kneels beside St. Francis ; the emblem of the Trinity descends upon the group.
The Vision of Ezekiel is one of Raffaelle’s noblest compositions, though painted on so small a scale. It is not only exquisitely finished in all the details, but composed, drawn, and coloured with a grandeur which the artist has not surpassed in any of his larger paintings. The countenance and attitude of Jehovah are truly majestic, and the lion, the ox, and the eagle, the symbols of St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John, partake of the solemn grandeur which pervades the picture ; the youthful angel in adoration, typical of St. Matthew, is a noble as well as lovely form, and no less fine are the infant angels, who sup-port the arms of the Eternal ; a glory composed of faintly traced angels’ heads, descends in rays from above ; and far beneath, the world, where Ezekiel is walking, is seen at early dawn in a mysterious and beautiful twilight. The picture was painted for Count Vincenzio Ercolani of Bologna.
Near the door is Cleopatra, by Guido Reni (15751642) ; a painting possessing wonderful breadth and delicacy in the shadows and half-tints.
The ceiling of the Sala dell’ Iliade is painted by Luigi Sabatelli, an artist who died in the middle of this century. In the centre of the room is a very lovely statue of Charity, by the Tuscan scuptor, Bartolini ; it is gracefully composed, and the flesh tenderly modelled ; the drapery falls in large and well-arranged folds, but the hair is stiff and inferior in execution. Thé composition is the same as a group of the Cinquecento period in the Bargello.
The two principal pictures in this room face one another, and are by Andrea del Sarto; both represent the Assumption of the Virgin. That to the right of the entrance was painted for the Cathedral of Cortona, and, greatly to the disgust of the inhabitants of that city, it was brought to Florence in 1609 by command of the Grand Duke Ferdinand II. The Madonna is seated on clouds, her hands clasped in adoration ; boy-angels bear her upwards and proclaim the glad tidings to the Apostles below, whilst five other lovely angels form a garland around her of exquisite beauty ; St. John gazes earnestly upwards, the rest of the Apostles gather round the Virgin’s tomb. Santa Chiara, the Sister of St. Francis, and St. Nicholas with his three typical balls, kneel, and he turns to the spectator. The figures in this picture have too much the appearance of academical studies, but the artist has thrown much expression in the heads, and the colour is brilliant, yet harmonious.
The picture opposite differs from that just described in many respects, and on the whole is superior. Bartolommeo Panciatichi, a Florentine merchant, settled in the city of Lyons in France, desired to leave there a remembrance of himself. He accordingly ordered a painting of the Assumption of the Virgin from Andrea del Sarto. The panel chosen by the artist split several times whilst he was at work ; Andrea be-came discouraged, and after abandoning and resuming the picture at intervals, he at last set it aside, and it remained in its present unfinished state till his death. The son of Panciatichi, however, had it conveyed to the villa, on the site of the present Palace of the Poggio Imperiale, beyond the Porta Romana of Florence, whence it was brought eventually to the Palazzo Pitti. The Madonna in this picture appears rapt in heavenly contemplation ; one hand is extended in prayer, with the other she holds her mantle. An angel descending from the heavens points upwards and tells the Apostles that the Virgin has risen. The early morning is dawning in a pale grey sky ; St. John and two other Apostles have heard the news ; their attitude expresses earnest devotion and wonder. The others, who are looking into the tomb, are less well painted ; among them the artist has introduced his own portrait. The cherubs near the Virgin are very graceful and lovely. The inferiority of the companion picture can easily be traced to the artist having exhausted his poetic inspiration on this first, and the second being a laboured production, not the original design.
Near the window of this room is another portrait of Andrea by himself ; and below it is the only positively genuine picture by Giorgione (1478-1511) in this gallery, and one of the few in existence ; it represents a group of musicians. The centre figure plays on a spinet or piano, whilst looking back at a man behind; his fingers are pressed firmly on the keys, as if pausing whilst listening to the friend, who is laying one hand on his shoulder to arrest his attention ; though in shade, the mild expression of this man’s countenance is not lost. All the force and brilliancy of the picture is, however, concentrated on the head of the central musician though the light is carried on to a third person standing on his right. There is great breadth of chiaroscuro, and no sudden transitions, but a uniform golden or rich sunset glow throughout the composition.
Over the nearest door is a very beautiful Baptism of the Saviour, by Paolo Veronese (1528-1588). The expression of John the Baptist is earnest and reverential the angel between the two principal personages looking up, with his hands crossed on his breast, is very lovely.
High on the wall to the right is Eleanora, daughter of the Grand Duke Francis I. and of Joanna of Austria, and married to Vincenzo Gonzaga I., Duke of Mantua ; this portrait is by Scipio Gaetano, a painter of the Roman school (1552-1593).
Beneath is Salvator Rosa, when young, by himself; and below this is the portrait of a son of Frederick III. of Denmark, by Justus Sustermans ; he is dressed in armour, and wears a white-and-blue scarf. This picture is an excellent example of the master.
Farthest from the window, beyond Andrea del Sarto’s large picture on the first wall, is a Holy Family, by Francesco Granacci, sweet in expression, especially the Infant Christ. There are several fine portraits by Titian in this room. On the second wall, high up, is Philip II. of Spain, a picture presented by that monarch to the Grand Duke Cosimo I., with a portrait of Philip’s father, the Emperor Charles V., also by Titian, which is in another room of the Pitti. His mean and vulgar features and countenance have received a certain air of dignity from Titian’s pencil.
A splendid portrait of Ippolito de’ Medici is also by Titian: the young Cardinal is here represented as a Hungarian magnate, in the costume he wore when sent as papal legate to the Emperor Charles V. The face is peculiarly Italian, as well as indicative of the passions fostered by the unhappy circumstances of his life ; a young and chivalrous spirit forced to bend to the yoke of the priesthood the quick, penetrating eye beneath the raised eyebrow, and the dilated nostril, expressing a high temper, whilst the fine and delicate smile on the lips tells less of pleasure, than repressed feeling.
On the other side of the, door leading to the back of the palace is the Madonna enthroned with saints, by Fra Bartolomineo. The two angels at the foot of the throne with a violin and guitar, are most lovely and full of religious feeling. No-thing can exceed the sweet infantine grace of the Child, who places a ring on the finger of St. Catharine. The attitude of the Virgin is somewhat strained and affected ; she holds the Infant by the arm tenderly, whilst turning her head towards Santa Reparata, a modest young maiden clothed in red and green, the colours of Charity and Hope, who kneels at her feet. The saints on the right of the Christ are very fine, especially St. George ; St. Bartholomew, to the left, carries a knife, the instrument of his martyrdom, and a book; the three Augustinian monks behind are probably portraits. The flying angels who support the canopy are painted with great beauty, and the light falling on one of them is very effective. The spectators who converse together are in natural, easy attitudes ; the colour of the picture is dark and heavy. Cavalcaselle considers this the finest of Fra Bartolommeo’s creations during the period that he was assisted by Mariotto Albertinelli. It was painted in the year 1512.
The Angel refusing the Gifts of Tobias, by Bilivert (1576 1644), is one of the artist’s best works, good in drawing, though too florid in colour.
A fine portrait by Titian represents Daniel Barbaro, a Venetian ambassador to England : the hands are splendidly painted, the attitude easy ; the fur of the dress is treated with great breadth, dashed in without attention to detail, but all the more effective from the contrast with the high finish of the head and hands.
Above it is a portrait of an unknown gentleman, by Titian ; the dress, consisting of a black velvet coat and short mantle ; the white at the throat and wrists is kept low in tone. Although the architectural background is carefully defined, it is subdued in colour, and gives relief to the figure, which stands easily; the hands are beautifully composed, easy, graceful, and drawn and coloured with truth ; the head is fine, but the picture is placed too high to judge of all its merits.
On the third wall is a Warrior, by Salvator Rosa, painted with breadth and vigour. Above it is another picture, by Titian, of Constance Bentivoglio, the daughter of Hercules Bentivoglio, a captain of Free Companies, who fought for Florence. The lady was first married to Lorenzo Strozzi of Ferrara, in 1514, and afterwards to Filippo Torricello, of Novara.
Below the Warrior is the Virgin adoring the Infant Jesus, by Perugino ; and Jesus adored by Saints, by Annibale Caracci (1560-1609).
Underneath the large picture by Andrea del Sarto, on the third wall, is the portrait of a lady in a Florentine costume, by Ridolfo Ghirlandaio ; it is hard in outline, clear in colour, and correct in drawing. The countenance is animated, and the picture is not unlike that of Maddalena Doni, by Raffaelle, particularly in the treatment of the hair ; this work of Ridolfo Ghirlandaio (1483-1560) is, however, inferior in finish to that of Raffaelle.
Near the door is a head of the Saviour by Titian, extremely fine, though not equal to the Tribute Money, now in Dresden, which it in some respects resembles.
Below is an exquisitely-painted portrait of a lady, attributed by Passavant, with the utmost probability, to Raffaelle. The short plump hands are not unlike those of Maddalena Doni. The delicate finish of all the details, including the gold chain round the neck, the simplicity, truth of expression, and careful drawing united with freedom of touch, are characteristic of the great master, especially during his Florentine period.
Over the door is the Madonna del Collo Lungo (long neck), by Francesco Mazzuoli, or Il Parmiggiano (1504-1541). The painter, according to Vasari, was so delighted with his own work that he left it in an unfinished state. Not only the neck of the Virgin, but all the figures, including that of a man, as well as a column in the background, are drawn out to an extraordinary length. There is much sweetness of expression, mingled with affectation, in this picture.
To the left of the entrance to the Gallery is the portrait of Vittoria della Rovere and her son, painted as the Madonna and Child, by Sustermans ; the maestro di casa, or head steward of the duchess, stood for Joseph.
Between the windows is a Madonna and Saints, by Il Rosso (1494-1541). This picture was painted for the family of Dei, and was placed in their chapel at the Santo Spirito, when the Madonna del Baldacchino was removed.
Rich tables of Florentine mosaic, and valuable vases of black marble and gold, adorn every room of this suite.
A square room to the back of the palace is called the Stufa, or Stove. Pietro da Cortona painted the walls in fresco, with allegories representing the Ages of Man, from sketches by the younger Michael Angelo Buonarroti, the nephew of the great sculptor. Matteo Rosselli added the Virtues on the ceiling in 1622. Two celebrated bronze statues of Cain and Abel, by the late sculptor Dupré, are the treasures of this room. They are finely composed and modelled, and are no less rernarkable as an example of modern Florentine bronze casting. Cain is placed in the centre of the room ; the body of Abel lies prostrate, as if from the violence of the fall. It is to be regretted that the two statues are not placed near one another, so as to form one group.
The adjoining room contains one of the most celebrated pictures of the collection, the Madonna del Gran Duca, by Raffaelleso called because it was always kept in the private apartments of the Grand Duke ; and it is even said that the last Grand Duchess directed her prayers to this picture when she desired the birth of a son, The Virgin is singularly modest and sweet ; the contour of her face and the delicate form of the mouth, as well as the soft, downcast eyes, are pre-eminently beautiful, even among Raffaelle’s Madonnas, although this picture belongs to the artist’s Florentine period, and is neither so classical as the Madonna della Seggiola, nor so sublime as his greatest creation, the Madonna di San Sisto ; but for simple dignity, loveliness and purity, this representation of the Virgin is unrivalled ; the light on her face seems to pass’ into her soft fair hair and in the blue-grey of her mantle, until lost in the dark background ; her hands are rather large ; she holds the Child tenderly, who is less lovely than His Mother, but His flesh and limbs are beautifully painted and modelled. Towards the end of the last century this valuable work was in the possession of a poor widow, who sold it to a picture-dealer for twelve crowns ; from thence it found its way to the Gallery of the Grand Duke Ferdinand III., who carried it with him wherever he went. When bought from the widow it was in a perfect state, but it has since that time twice under-gone the process of cleaning. This was the first picture Raffaelle painted when he visited Florence, after leaving the school of Perugino.
Beside this picture, but high on the wall, is John the Baptist as a youth, by Andrea del Sarto. Unfortunately, this painting was subjected to a new process of cleaning, fatal to the glazes and delicate colours on the surface, so that it is now little better than a coloured print, and only makes a good photograph.
On the opposite wall is the portrait of a lady, attributed to Raffaelle. Passavant believes her to have been the model from whom he painted, or rather idealised, the Madonna di San Sisto. The fine Roman head and bust, as well as the sleeve of the dress, he supposed to have been executed by Raffaelle, but the rest of the picture to have been finished by an inferior hand. This portrait was in the Palace of the Poggio Imperiale until 1824, when it was brought to the Pitti.
Above is the portrait of a young man, by Franz Porbus (1570-1622), an excellent Flemish painter of the school of Floris ; the hands are finely drawn.
A small, but fine portrait of King Philip IV. of Spain on horseback, by Velasquez (1594-1660).
Facing the window is the splendid portrait of a gentleman, by Van der Helst (1613-1670). He is in black with a white collar and cuffs with lace. The head and the left hand are beautifully painted. The head is very animated, full of life and movement. He has a glove on his right hand, and holds his hat.
Over the door is a Holy Family, by Fra Bartolommeo ; the composition is very Leonardesque ; the infant St. John crouches at the feet of Elizabeth, who smiles as if amused ; the Virgin is not elevated in feeling, but the colour of this picture is agreeable, though it has suffered from cleaning and restorations. A fine portrait of a gentleman on the other side of the door is by the Venetian, Tiberio Tinelli (1586-1638), a scholar of Titian and Bassano. Tinelli enjoyed a high reputation, and was patronised by Louis XIII. of France.
Passing through a short passage with a little ornamented boudoir, to the left, containing statues, the Sala di Ulisse has another large picture by Andrea del Sarto, facing the window, of the Madonna and Child with Saints ; in the foreground are St. John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. The Infant Christ is full of dignity ; the Madonna is supported by heads of Cherubim in clouds.
To the left of this picture is an interesting portrait by Titian of the Emperor Charles V., painted at the same time with his son Philip II. for the Grand Duke Cosimo I. The Emperor is advanced in years, and has a worn and unhappy countenance.
Two good landscapes, by Salvator Rosa, are beneath.
Over the entrance is a very fine portrait of Pope Paul III., by the Venetian, Paris Bordone. His long, thin figure, gaunt features, and his sharp, querulous countenance, though full of intelligence, are indicative of an unhappy, restless old age. Paul III. (Alexander Farnese) was chosen Pope in 1554 at sixty-eight years of age. The chief aim of his reign was to check the progress of Lutheranism, and his name is associated with the Council of Trent. He had been married before he took sacred orders, and he asked and obtained the hand of Margaret of Austria, the illegitimate daughter of the Emperor Charles V., for his grandson, Octavius Farnese. The benefits which he bestowed on his relations were only repaid by ingratitude, which embittered the latter years of his life ; he died at the advanced age of eighty-four. Though a correspondent of Erasmus, he established the Inquisition at Naples, confirmed the Order of Jesuits, and issued a bull of excommunication against Queen Elizabeth.
Between the window and the door is a large picture by the Venetian, Ligozzi (1543-1627), of the Madonna and Child appearing to St. Francis. A landscape background represents the rocky scenery of La Vernia.
Over the fire-place is a very sweet landscape in tempera by Agostino Caracci (1558-1601), and beside it is an Ecce Homo, Christ Crowned with Thorns, by Carlo Dolce, very fine in expression; the eyes and mouth express suffering, as well as meek resignation.
Near the’ door leading to the adjoining room, is a portrait of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, by Rubens. He was the handsome favourite of James I. and Charles I., who was assassinated by Felton in 1628. The picture is full of life, a face. uniting beauty and talent.
The small pictures of St. Francis, the Supper at Emmaus, and the portrait of a man, are by Cigoli.
In the centre of the room is a vase of Sêvres china.
The Sala di Promoteo contains some fine specimens of the early Florentine school.
Over the door is a Madonna and Child, by Fra Filippo Lippi (14061469) ; it has great sweetness and refinement ; the flesh tints are painted with a gentle gradation, and the hands of the Madonna, as well as the Child, are well drawn. The Virgin holds a pomegranate in her right hand, which the Infant Christ grasps with His left. In the background St. Anna is seen in bed, and the Infant Virgin in the arms of an attendant ; at the bedside is a woman followed by a female servant with a basket on her head ; two other females with a child bring offerings. The Meeting of Joachim and Anna is also represented.
To the left is a small picture, by Bernardo Pinturicchio (1454-1513), the Visit of the Magi ; interesting from the variety of heads and their expression.
Over the fireplace is a Madonna and Child, St. James and St. Catharine, a good picture, by Giovanni Bellini (c. 142815r6) of the early Venetian school.
The Grand Duke Cosimo III., when a child, is a charming portrait by Sustermans, and below is a Holy Family by Baldassare Peruzzi of Sienna (14811536). Still lower, the Magdalene borne to Heaven by Angels, is by Taddeo Zuccaro (1529-I566) ; the groups of cherubim and angels are extremely lovely.
Above one of the doors is the picture of a Holy Family and Angels, attributed to Filippo Lippo. The Virgin is kneeling before the Child in a garden of roses ; she is very tender and graceful ; the Child is in a playful attitude ; one of the angels throws flowers.
Facing the window is a Holy Family by Sandro Botticelli (14471510). The Virgin holds the Child lovingly ; St. John the Baptist is beside them, with the archangels Michael and Gabriel.
Near this is another Holy Family, attributed to Lorenzo Credi (14591537). The Madonna worshipping the Child, who is laid on the ground, His head resting on a bundle of faggots. In the distance is a bright sunny landscape ; the ox and ass are in one corner ; Joseph is looking on. This picture is probably of the school of Credi.
Beneath this a picture, by Luca Signorelli (14411523), represents the Virgin and Child appearing to a young girl who is writing in a book ; St. Joseph is behind.
In the centre below is the portrait of Simonetta, a lady celebrated for her beauty, which is certainly not remarkable in this picture. She has regular features, but her long neck and awkward figure are not improved by a cap and gown as ugly as they are simple. La bella Simonetta was beloved by Giulio de’ Medici.
Over the door to the adjoining rooms is a picture by Botticelli of the Virgin holding the Infant Jesus down to receive the embrace of the little St. John, whose child-like tenderness and graceful figure constitute the principal charm of this picture. There are rose-bushes in the background.
To the left of this is the Visit of the Magi, by Domenico Ghirlandaio ; also a Holy Family by Domenico Beccafumi of Sienna (1486-1551), and another Holy Family by an artist of the school of Francia of Bologna, which was long attributed to the master himself; but the name Boatasi was lately discovered on the picture.
A very lovely Virgin and Child is by Garofolo, and another picture, where the Virgin kneels before the Child, who receives the nails, the instruments of the Passion and the Cross, from an angel, is by Mariotto Albertinelli.
Near the next door is an Ecce Homo, by Fra Bartolommeo. The head (in fresco) resembles that of the half-length figure in the Academy; the expression is sad though sweet, and there is a peculiar tenderness about the mouth.
Above it, is the same subject by Antonio da Pollajolo (1429-1498).
St. Sebastian, by Pollajolo, is on the fourth wall, as well as the Death of Lucretia, by Fra Filippo Lippi, a classical subject, unusual with this artist.
A long narrow corridor connects these rooms with a suite farther to the back of the Palace. This corridor is called ` of the Columns,’ from two valuable little pillars of Oriental alabaster placed here. Six pictures in pietra dura represent Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Music, the Pantheon of Rome, and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. The collection of miniatures in water-colour and oil was made by Cardinal Leopold de’ Medici in the course of his travels through Europe, but, unfortunately, there is no catalogue, nor means to learn whom they represent. The first room following the corridor is called the Sala della Giustizia. The rich Stipo, or Ebony Cabinet, inlaid with precious marbles in the centre, was formerly used by Cardinal Leopold de’ Medici, when officiating at mass.
One of the most interesting pictures here is a portrait of Oliver Cromwell, by Sir Peter Lely (1617-1680). The story connected with this picture adds to its interest. When the persecution of the Waldensian Protestants, whose sufferings Milton has immortalised in his beautiful Ode, had reached its height, the Lord Protector of England determined to arrest its course. He accordingly sent a message to the Pope, Alexander VII., that if these barbarities did not cease, he would send the English fleet up the Tiber. The result was an order to the Duke of Savoy to stay his hand. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II., was so struck by the courage and character of Cromwell, that he requested him to sit for this picture, which Lely, then a young man, painted. When Cromwell sat to Lely it is related that he said : ` Paint me as I am ; if you leave out the scars and wrinkles I will not pay you a shilling.’
A fine portrait of the Canon Pandolfo Ricasoli, by Sustermans. He belonged to the Order of Jesuits, but was accused of immoral practices, and was condemned by the Inquisition to be walled up alive. The devil at his ear and the inscription behind are late additions to the portrait.
To the left, lower down, is a portrait of the Grand Duke Cosimo I., by Agnolo Bronzino (1502-1572), as well as the portrait of the Grand Duchess Vittoria della Rovere, by Carlo Dolce.
In the centre of the Sala di Flora is Canova’s celebrated statue of Venus, which was made to replace the Venus de’ Medici, when this antique statue was carried to Paris. Near one of the doors is a portrait of the Grand Duke Ferdinand II., by Sustermans.
St. Anna Teaching the Virgin to Read, on the wall facing the window, is a richly-coloured and portrait-like picture, by Cigoli. There is likewise a good landscape by Agostino Tassi, the master of Claude Lorraine.
In the Sala dei Putti, Peace burning the Weapons of War, by Salvator Rosa, is a very fine landscape, which might have furnished a study to our own Gainsborough; the same effects of light on ship and water, the broad touch of the trees, dark brown shadows in the foreground, and chiaroscuro with little colour.
The Selva dei Filosofi is also a fine picture, by Salvator Rosa. There are three small . full-length portraits of the Electress Palatine Anna Maria de’ Medici, daughter of the Grand Duke Cosimo III., and sister of the last Medicean Grand Duke Gian Gastone, who survived all her family, dying in 1743. The first, in a hunting costume, is by John Francis Douven (1656-1727), in another she is represented with her husband, the Elector Palatine.
A beautiful little landscape of rock and water is by Ruysdael. There is also a good picture by Breughel (1510-1576), of a Madonna, encircled by a garland of flowers.
Returning to the Sala di Promoteo, a room to the left is called the Galleria Poccetti, as the ceiling was painted by that artist. There is a fine bust of Napoleon I. in marble, by Canova, bequeathed here by his brother, King Louis of Holland. The pictures in this room are not of sufficient importance to deserve notice.