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in order to "be happy," . a kind of adventure which you seem to suppose you have in some way interfered with. Do, for this once, think, and never after, on the impossibility of your ever (you know I must talk your own language, so I shall say-) hindering any scheme of mine, stopping any supposable advancement of mine.'
But as for her, she has no such impediments of speech. She can make her pretty confession, looking back, of what she had felt when she would not admit that there was any feeling; she can express frankly her delight in being loved for the only reason which is no reason;' not because she is a poetess, nor because she is sympathetic, nor because he is chivalrous, but simply because he is he and she is she; she can speak her feminine avowals of the jealousy she could not repress of the other women' who might profit when she persisted in refusing what he offered; or she can be as naive as this shows her, when she went home after the secret marriage.
'I did hate so to take off the ring! You will have to take the trouble of putting it on again, some day.'
That is simply the woman, saying what every woman in love would have felt in her place, but few would have put so simply. But there are passages and to spare where the utterance is not only that of the woman in love, but of the poet; here is a last quotation, one where she makes her boast of her one capacity-the power to love-and in a sense explains it :
'Because I have the capacity, as I said—and, besides, I owe more to you than others could, it seems to me-let me boast of it. To many you might be better than all things, while one of all things to me you are instead of all; to many a crowning happiness-to me the happiness itself. From out of deep dark pits men see the stars more gloriously, and de profundis amavi.'
So they stand before us, these two famous lovers, for other things justly famous, but for none more likely to be unforgotten than for this culmination of their lives; and we cannot wish this record of their love inaccessible. But we hold strongly that if a wise selection had been made, and the whole packed into the compass of one of these volumes, many repetitions which grow tedious might have been spared, many things not needful to the record, and better kept secret, might have been left in a fitting seclusion; yet the story might have been told in all its fulness, the natures amply displayed, and a bad precedent avoided.
ART. VII.—1. A Florentine Picture-Chronicle, being a Series of Ninety-nine Drawings representing Scenes and Personages of Ancient History, Sacred and Profane, by Maso Finiguerra. Reproduced from the originals in the British Museum by the Imperial Press, Berlin. With a Critical and Descriptive Text by SIDNEY COLVIN, M.A. London: 1898.
2. Publications of the Chalcographical Society. London, Paris, and Berlin: 1886 to 1895.
NE of the most puzzling questions in connexion with the Italian art of the Quattrocento has always been that of the origin and the primitive developements of engraving on copper in Florence about the middle of the fifteenth century; and, indissolubly mixed up with the main point, that of the precise nature of its relation, both as regards subjects and technique, to the contemporary art of Germany. The question has been complicated by the fact that the elements for study are few and far between. The early Florentine prints, and the true nielli, from which one most important division of them may be said to have been evolved, are of the most extreme rarity, and so scattered and divided between the print-rooms of museums and the cabinets of fortunate amateurs that a critical examination of the engravings, drawings, and works of art, with the aid of which the puzzle might perhaps once for all be solved, has until quite recently been wellnigh impossible. The splendid work done of late years by the Chalcographical Society—a creation of the chief museums, the critics highest in authority, and the most representative amateurs in Europe-has now made matters easier for the student. To say nothing for the moment of what it has accomplished in other fields, it has reproduced in facsimile, and for the most part in the happiest fashion, the most representative specimens of Florentine engraving of the early period with which we are dealing, making its selection from the treasures of the British Museum, which is extraordinarily rich in these rarities; from those of the National Library of Paris, the Imperial Library and the Albertina of Vienna, the Print Rooms of Berlin, the museums of Hamburg and Gotha, and such exceptionally complete private cabinets as those of Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Paris. A further and a very important step in advance has been made with the
publication of this unique Florentine Picture-Chronicle,' the reproduction and the delicate analysis of which in all its bearings we owe to Professor Sidney Colvin, who has brought to bear upon his difficult yet most grateful task-so manifestly to him a labour of love-the most refined and unobtrusive scholarship, as well as the most enthusiastic and patient research in a very wide field. Amateurs and students also owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Bernard Quaritch for the enterprise with which he has undertaken the issue of a work which from its very perfection, and its consequent costliness, must appeal to the few rather than the many. The fine taste and the lavishness with which the book has been produced make of it a publication for which, in its special class, it would, unfortunately, be difficult to find many parallels in the English book market. Our pride in it is just a little dashed, however, when we note that it has been necessary to confide to the Reichsdruckerei (Imperial Press) of Berlin the reproduction of the ninety-nine drawings making up the Chronicle. And yet the author and the publisher have undoubtedly been well advised in securing, regardless of any local patriotism'-as the Germans call it -the best possible reproductions in a case where accuracy of value in the relation to each other of the black and white and kindred tints, as well as adequate rendering of detail, are of the very essence of the matter dealt with.
A word, in the first place, as to the history of the Picture-Chronicle, which has so important a bearing not only upon the history of engraving, but upon the manners and customs, the social history of Florence, in the great period of energy and growth to which they refer. Nothing, says Professor Colvin, was known of them until soon after 1840, at which time they were bought in Florence by a wellknown German engraver, Professor E. Schaeffer, of Heidelberg. They passed through some intermediate vicissitudes. before coming into the hands of M. Clément, a great Paris dealer, who, after some abortive negotiations with the British Museum, sold them to Mr. Ruskin for the sum of 1,000l. Fifteen years later Professor Colvin (then, as now, Keeper of the Prints and Drawings at the British Museum) saw them in Mr. Ruskin's possession at Brantwood, and, coveting them for the national collection, met with a characteristically generous response from the great critic, who ended by ceding them to the Trustees of the British Museum for the same price that he had himself given--that is to say, for about one-half of their value at the time, and
very likely not more than a quarter of their value now. But for a vague attribution to Benozzo Gozzoli, which even at the time does not appear to have been taken seriously, the Chronicle drawings remained anonymous down to the publication of the present work, in which Mr. Colvin, supporting his contention by a wealth of proof and suggestion, claims them for the famous Florentine goldsmith, Maso Finiguerra, to whom down to quite recent times the invention of engraving on metal, or rather of printing engravings from metal plates, has, on the authority of Vasari, been assigned. Though the most modern authorities, and chief among them the noted French collector, M. Dutuit, and the learned Italian aunotator of Vasari, Signor Gaetano Milanesi, have dislodged Finiguerra from the proud place assigned to him on the authority of the Aretine biographer, and the priority of the German fifteenth-century engravers is now well established, it will be seen in the course of these remarks that Vasari's statement, though characteristically inaccurate, is not without a pretty solid substructure of fact.
Conclusive as to the priority of the German engravers are many indications, but above all the date of 1446 on the Renouvier' Passion in the Cabinet of Prints and Drawings at the Berlin Museum. Further and very strong evidence in favour of the Germans is furnished by the fact that their plates-conspicuously those of the Master E. S. of 1466-for all their naïveté and grotesqueness of conception, for all their Gothic angularity of design, show a marked superiority over the contemporary productions of the Italian goldsmith-engravers, both in the use of the burin and the printing off of the plates. Still, it is far from being proved that the Florentines, who at some time not long after 1450 began to print plates from the engraved copper, followed in the first place in the footsteps of their German predecessors and contemporaries. On the contrary, Mr. Colvin furnishes cogent evidence that the peculiar technical style shown in the well-defined group of engravings in the fine manner,' which, if not quite the first in point of date of the Florentine fifteenth-century engravings, are very nearly contemporary with them, is naturally and in quite normal fashion developed from the pre-eminently, though by no means exclusively, Italian art of the niellatore.*
The most primitive of the early Florentine prints date, according to Dr. Christeller-a high authority on this special subject
This art of niello-that of engraving on silver, and further emphasising the design so obtained by filling in the engraved lines with a black enamel-like substance-was practised throughout the Middle Ages, but certainly attained to the highest perfection at Florence towards the middle of the fifteenth century. There is no reason to doubt Vasari's statement that Maso Finiguerra was the most renowned niellatore of his time; although we know that the beautiful, the much-discussed pax of the Museo Nazionale, with a Coronation of the Virgin' in the manner of Fra Filippoof which sulphur casts are in the British Museum and the cabinet of Baron Edmond de Rothschild, and a unique print was discovered by that sentimental amateur, L'Abbé Zani, in the National Library of Paris-is not the pax mentioned by the Aretine as having been ordered of the famous goldsmith-engraver. In the first place, it does not agree in subject with the one on which used to be founded the claim of Finiguerra to be regarded as the father of engraving on copper; in the second, it reveals in style the influence of Fra Filippo Lippi, and therefore represents a phase of Florentine fifteenth-century art quite distinct from that to
-from about 1450. They are apparently isolated efforts, and are artistically of very varying value, among them being classed the remarkable 'Profile Portrait of a Lady' in the style of Paolo Uccello, now in the Berlin Museum, and a late example of its class-a 'Resurrection,' printed together with a Paschal Table, recently acquired for the British Museum from the Angiolini collection (1461). Nearly contemporary with them, however, are the prints in the fine manner' with which we are for the moment chiefly concerned. Here both the technique and the quality of the design. suggest the goldsmith. The shading and modelling are done by very fine, close cross-hatchings, as in the true niellos. An enumeration of the chief prints in this manner will be found in the text. The prints in the broad manner' are distinguished in the first place as belonging to a different school of Florentine art-that of Fra Filippo Lippi; in the second, because in them the shading and modelling are done with the aid of more or less parallel lines, without any crosshatching. To this group belong, among other things, a series of copies of the Sibyls' in the fine manner,' done, however, with many alterations and simplifications; the six Triumphs,' after Petrarch; an Adoration of the Magi;' the Works of Mercy with the Preaching of Fra Marco;' The Deluge;' 'David and Goliath ;' 'Solomon and the Queen of Sheba;' 'Moses with the Tables of the Law,' and 'The Brazen Serpent;' a superbly decorative St. George and the Dragon' on a large scale, with a curious representation of the Arch of Constantine in the background (?).