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very few specimens of Salvator Rosa and Domenichino.
On the whole, I suppose that no gallery, except that of Florence, can compete with the Dresden gallery, in the treasures of Italian art. In all, there are five hundred and thirty-four Italian pictures. I
pass over the Flemish, Dutch, and French pictures, which fill the outer gallery: these exceed the Italian school in number, and many of them are of surpassing merit and value, but, having just come from Munich, where the eye and fancy are both satiated with this class of pictures, I gave my attention principally to the Italian masters.
There is one room here entirely filled with the crayon paintings of Rosalba, including a few by Liotard. Among them is a very interesting head of Metastasio, painted when he was young. He has fair hair and blue eyes, with small features, and an expression of mingled sensibility and acuteness: no power.
Rosalba Carriera, perhaps the finest crayon painter who ever existed, was a Venetian, born at Chiozza, in 1675.
creature in every respect, possessing many accomplishments, besides the beautiful art in which she excelled. Several anecdotes are preserved, which prove the sweetness of her disposition, and the clear simplicity of her mind. Spence, who knew her personally, calls her “the most modest of painters;" yet she used to say playfully, “I am charmed with every thing I do, for eight hours after it is done!” This was natural while the excitement of conception was fresh upon the mind. No one, however, could be more fastidious and difficult about their own works than Rosalba. She was not only an observer of countenance by profession, but a most acute observer of character, as revealed in all its external indications, She said of Sir Godfrey Kneller, after he had paid her a visit, “I concluded he could not be religious, for he has no modesty.” The general philosophical truth comprised in these few words, is not less admirable than the acuteness of the remark, as applied to Kneller -a professed sceptic, and the most self-sufficient coxcomb of his time.
Rosalba was invited at different times to almost all the courts of Europe, and painted most of the distinguished persons of her time, at Vienna, Dresden, Berlin, and Paris; the lady-like refinements of her mind and manners, which also marked her style of painting, recommended her not less than her talents. She used, after her return to Italy, to say her prayers in German, “because the language was so expressive."*
Rosalba became blind before her death, which occurred in 1757. Her works in the Dresden gallery amount to at least one hundred and fifty -principally portraits—but there are also some exquisite fancy heads.
Thinking of Rosalba, reminds me that there are some pretty stories told of women, who have excelled as professed artists. In general the conscious power of maintaining themselves, habits of attention and manual industry, the application of our feminine superfluity of sensibility and imagination to a tangible result-have produced fine characters. The daughter of Tintoretto, when invited to the courts of Maximilian and Philip II. refused to leave her father. Violante Siries of Florence, gave a similar proof of filial affection; and when the grand duke commanded her to paint her own portrait for the Florentine gallery, where it now hangs, she introduced the portrait of her father, because he had been her first instructor in art. When Henrietta Walters, the famous Dutch miniature painter, was invited by Peter the Great and Frederic, to their respective courts, with magnificent promises of favour and patronage, she steadily refused; and when Peter, who had no idea of giving way to obstacles, particularly in the female form, pressed upon her in person the most splendid offers, and demanded the reason of her refusal, she replied, that she was contented with her lot, and could not bear the idea of living out of a free country.
Maria von Osterwyck, one of the most admirable flower painters, had a lover, to whom she was a little partial, but his idleness and dissipation distressed her. At length she promised to give him her hand on condition that during one year he would work regularly ten hours a day, observing that it was only what she had done herself from a very early age. He agreed; and took a house opposite to her that she might witness his industry; but habit was too strong, his love or his resolution failed, and he broke the compact. She refused to be his wife; and no entreaties could afterwards alter her determination never to accept the man who had shown so little strength of character, and so little real love. She was a wise woman, and as the event showed, not a heartless one.
She died unmarried, though surrounded by suitors.
It was the fate of Elizabeth Sirani, one of the most beautiful women, as well as one of the most exquisite painters of her time, to live in the midst of those deadly feuds between the pupils of Guido and those of Domenichino, and she was poisoned at the age of twenty-six. She left behind her one hundred and fifty pictures, an astonishing number if we consider the age at which the world was deprived of this wonderful creature, for they are finished with the utmost care in every part. Madonnas and Magdalenes were her favourite subjects. She died in 1526. Her best pictures are at Florence.
Sofonisba Angusciola had two sisters, Lucia and Europa, almost as gifted, though not quite