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the army marched four parasangs, and on the following day, perhaps, five or six parasangs, the length of a parasang, and the amount of energy required in order to accomplish it, being all the while as vague and indefinite as the bittock' of a Scotch peasant. But whatever uncertainty may attach to the original invention, we feel in no doubt as to its modern application, and we have only to think of the probable fate of a writer, who, in our time, should forge such orations, to realise, in its full extent, the enormity of the offence.
The age produced one writer, for whom, on account of his peculiar villainies, we have reserved a special place. This writer we take to be, on the whole, the most shameless person who ever put pen to paper-at any rate, in the province of history. In the second paper of this series occurs the name of one ‘Paullus Jovius,' whom Speght cites as an authority on the course of events in the peninsula in the time of Petrarch. It is not usual to call him Paullus Jovius,' the reason why Speght names him so being that the said Jovius' wrote in Latin, and described himself after this fashion on his title-page. We, at least, will follow the example of most writers and call him simply Paulla Giovio.
Paullo Giovio, then, was a man of no mean ambition. He thought himself qualified for a greater, a nobler work, than recording the life of a city, or even of a peninsula, and laid himself out to describe the events of his own time in every part of the world. We do not blame him for this—failure in such an attempt carries with it.its own penalty-but we do most seriously reprehend Giovio's methods, concerning which, to do him justice, he is remarkably frank and free. He was accustomed to say that he had two kinds of pens—a penna d'oro and a penna di ferro. Whether he employed the one or the other, depended on certain mercantile considerations; on the amount, that is to say, which distinguished persons were disposed to pay into Paullo Giovio's private purse. Looked at from this point, the advantage of undertaking a universal, in preference to a merely local, history is obvious. By extending its scope, Giovio was able to hold his forthcoming work in terrorem over the King of France and other monarchs, who would otherwise have been inaccessible to his influcnce.
Giovio defends his malpractices in the following terms: You well know that history should be faithful, and that matters-offact ought not to be trifled with, except by a certain little latitude
which allows all writers by ancient privilege to aggravate or extenuate the faults of those of whom they treat, and, on the other hand, to exalt or depreciate their virtues. I should be in a fine pickle if my friends and patrons did not feel themselves under obligations when I make a piece of their money worth more by one-third than is the case with good-for-nothing, unmannerly people. You are well aware that by this holy privilege I have attired some in rich brocade, and on the contrary some, on account of their deserts, in coarse dowlas. And woe to him who touches me! If they have arrows to shoot with, I shall bring my heavy artillery into play, and we shall soon see who gets the best of it. Sure am I that they will die, and we shall escape after death, the ultima linea of all controversies' (in a letter).*
The reader may be at a loss to understand this boldness in a writer of whom many will hear now almost for the first time, but the reason is not far to seek. It was the Popes who had petted and pampered him into this state of overweening confidence. Leo X. flattered him by comparing him with Livy, made him a cavalier, and bestowed a handsome pension on him. Adrian VI., though he was not in general a friend to men of letters, appointed Giovio a canon in the cathedral at Como, stipulating, however, it is said, that he should make honourable mention of him in his writings. Clement VII. was even more liberal towards Giovio, and wound up a succession of splendid benefits by conferring upon him the bishopric of Nocera.
The esteem in which he was held by Pope Clement is shown by a curious episode arising out of the sack of Rome in 1527. Giovio, in alarm, had bestowed his history, copied on vellum and elegantly bound, in a chest; and this chest, which contained also a large amount of wrought silver, was placed for safety in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The precaution was useless, for two Spanish officers having discovered the treasure, one possessed himself of the silver, while the other, by name Herrera, made off with the books. In addition to the bound volumes, there were in the chest some loose sheets, believed to belong to the history, but they were scattered to the four winds and never recovered. Meanwhile, Herrera, having found that Giovio was the owner of the books, sought him out and gave him the option
On another occasion, when a friend expostulated with him for recording some absurd and improbable incidents, Giovio betrayed a similar levity, replying that it was of little consequence ; for when people then living were no more, it would all pass for truth.'
of purchasing them. Giovio would no doubt have been very glad to do so, but unfortunately he had not the means. In his dilemma he applied to Clement VII., who got back the books for him by the doubtful expedient of promising Herrera an ecclesiastical benefice in Cordova.
The last of this order to whom we shall refer, is a patriotic son of Venice—Paolo Paruta (1540-1598), the historian of the Republic, who wrote a history of Venice from the year 1513 to 1551, in which he compares the Venetians with the ancient Romans, to the advantage of the former. More interesting than this is his Storia della Guerra di Cipro, in which he relates, with marvellous skill, the series of events which culminated in the Battle of Lepanto. Historically, this sea-fight is one of the most memorable on record, since it arrested, and that for ever, the aggressions of the Turkish fleet, which had threatened to acquire complete ascendancy in the Mediterranean; and, as students of literature, we ought not to forget that Miguel Cervantes was maimed in the action. At Venice, Paruta pronounced the funeral oration in honour of those who had fallen in the engagement, in the Church of St. Mark.
'If'-Benjamin Robert Haydon, painter and controversalist, is said to have remarked, - I were confined to three books in a desert island, I would choose the Bible, Shakespeare, Vasari,' the repositories of religion, humanity, and art. In view of a prolonged sojourn in a desert island mere bulk would count for something; and Vasari's writings are sufficiently voluminous. Then, again, there is a fund of anecdote, which would help to beguile the time very pleasantly, and prevent our feeling overedified. So that Haydon must be allowed to have made an excellent choice, so far as Vasari is concerned, while the other works are of such a character as to require no apology from us. The title of Vasari's book is, Vite de' più eccellenti Pittori, Scultori,
Architetti, scritte da M. Giorgio Vasari, Pittore e Architetto Aretino.
This work did not please the Dellacruscans, but after what the reader has already heard of their arrogance, he will be in no danger of attaching an exaggerated importance to their censure. No book, it seems, that we now think good, could issue from the press without meeting with a more or less hostile reception from this carping Academy. Vasari very wisely refused to be drawn into a controversy with them. He was content to retort that ‘his object was not to teach people how to write Tuscan, but to describe the lives of Italian architects and painters.'. In point of fact, the work is written in very fair Italian. The author may have been guilty of a few lapses in spelling, an irregular phrase or two, but his peccadilloes, assuredly, did not warrant the fulmination of edicts or bulls against him. Turning to the subject matter, we find that the amassing of materials cost him ten years of travel and research, though he confesses that he was aided in his undertaking by faithful friends, and that he availed himself of the writings of other men-Ghiberti, Ghirlandajo, and the immortal Raffael.
Vasari's personality shines through his writings. It is easy to see that he was amiable, modest, and very naïf, and though doubtless a superior specimen, he belongs to the same genus as Boswell. In his own art he knows he is only second-rate ; but he does not allow this consciousness to dėpress him, and finds balm and consolation in the successes of others. This frame of mind does him infinite credit, for Vasari could not attribute his comparative failure to anything or anybody but himself. This will appear more evident from some reminiscences which he has given us of his early life, and which may be quoted here, as illustrating the gossipy style in which much of the work is written.
It seems that in his old age Luca Signorelli, a distinguished painter, came to Arezzo, partly to see to the erection of a picture which he had executed for the company of S. Jerome, and partly to visit his friends and relations. He stayed with the Vasari, and Giorgio, who was then a boy of eight, was much struck with the kindly and polished old man. The interest was reciprocated, for Signorelli, having understood from Giorgio's master, who was endeavouring to teach him the rudiments, that the lad did nothing, while at school, but scrawl figures, turned to his father Antonio, and said : ‘Giorgino is a chip of the old block. By all means have him taught drawing, for even though he should make letters his study, drawing can be only a source of profit, honour, and amusement to him, as it is to all worthy persons.' Then addressing himself to Giorgio, who stood directly before him, he said, ' Learn, little cousin. Afterwards Signorelli was informed that the young Vasari suffered from violent bleeding at the nose, whereupon, with infinite tenderness, he strung a jasper about his, Giorgio's, neck, apparently as an amulet.
The sequel of this story is to be found in the life of Francesco de' Salviati. Vasari appears to have played Jonathan to Salviati's David, and he assures us that though certain persons had fancied that owing to their rivalry in art, and a somewhat haughty way of speaking which the said Francesco' had, their friendship had been interrupted, this was not the case. The origin of their intimacy was as follows. In 1523, Silvio Passerini, who was then acting as legate of Pope Clement VII., passed through Arezzo, and Antonio Vasari took Giorgio, his eldest son, to pay his respects to the Cardinal. The little rogue, who was not more than nine, had been so well grounded in his studies through the diligence of Messer Antonio da Saccone, and Messer Giovanni Pollastra, an excellent poet,' that he had learnt a large part of Virgil's Æneid by heart; and, what was more, he had been taught to draw by a French painter, one Gulielmo di Marcilla. These high attainments gave Giorgio great favour in the eyes of the Cardinal, who issued instructions that he should be taken to Florence, where he was placed under the care of an artist no less renowned than Michelangelo Buonarroti. Now it so befel that these things came to the ears of Francesco, whose father was a considerable merchant in the city, and the young Florentine found means, through a gentleman of Cardinal di Cortona, to introduce to Giorgio's notice a picture executed by his own hand. With this picture Vasari was vastly pleased, and thereafter, wherever Giorgio went, Francesco was sure to go. These circumstances ought to prepare us for a record of unusual distinction, but, as we have already intimated, Vasari's early promise was not fulfilled. In this connection it is natural to think of Mengs, who, likewise, wrote about art, was a master of all its technicalities, and yet lacked that poetic insight, that incommunicable touch, which distinguishes the true artist from the mere journeyman.
Giorgio Vasari died in 1574, at the age of sixty-three.
The fate of Vasari's writings, after leaving his hands, is one which suggests a homily on the woes of authors as the subjects of vicarious punishment. The first edition of his Lives was printed at Florence by Lorenzo Torrentino, and it would appear from the dedication that certain persons concerned in its production, taking a liberal view of their duties, not only rearranged the contents, but were kind enough to set Vasari right in some of his statements-assistance which the latter was ungrateful enough to resent. The first edition contains no portraits : the second, published in 1568, did. In this appeared a new source of trouble. Many of the portraits were no doubt genuine, while others were as certainly false.
a difficult matter to