Nothing is more touching than the solemn and silent grandeur of a Roman Catholic Church; thither the poor and the distressed, the weary and the hungry, continually resort; and many a lonely helpless being is dimly distinguished in a sequestered corner in fervent prayer. Here every variety of human character may be seen; thoughtless careless youth; the pallid, haggard, unhappy peasant, encumbered with disease; the forlorn widow, bending in sorrow over her little ones; and the aged man, with his bald and shining head, sprinkled with a few remaining hairs, clasping his hands, and praying for release from life’s uninteresting and weary scene.
The habit of penitence, the use of confession, the solitary indulgence of an humble and contrite spirit, carry many a mourning soul to the foot of the altar, kissing the relic to which it is consecrated.
Must not scenes like these make painters? Can these fine figures, touched by the fading gleams darting from the richly-painted window, fail of impressing a mind the least sensible to the beauties of the art?
If vastness and solitude can prepare the mindif columns and monuments, arches and broken angles, lights descending from above, long perspectives, gloomy recesses, figures rising in a dark ground, can inspire a painter, and affect him with melancholy tender images, the painters of Italy should certainly excel.