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It appears that the pediment of the Glyptothek, now vacant, will be adorned by a group of fourteen or fifteen figures, representing all the different processes in the art of sculpture; the modeller in clay, the hewer of the marble, the caster in bronze, the carver in wood or ivory, &c. all in appropriate attitudes, all colossal, and grouped into a whole. The general design was modelled, I believe, by Eberhardt, professor of sculpture in the academy here; and the execution of the different figures has been given to several young sculptors, among them, Mayer and Bandel. This has produced a strong feeling of emulation. I observed that notwithstanding the height and the situation to which they are destined, nearly one-half of each figure being necessarily turned from the spectator below, each statue is wrought with exceeding care, and perfectly finished on every side. I admired the purity of the marble, which is from the Tyrol. Mayer informs me that about three years ago, enormous quarries of white marble were discovered in the Tyrol, to the great satisfaction of the king, as it diminishes, by one-half, the expense of the material. This native marble
is of a dazzling whiteness, and to be had in immense masses, without flaw or speck; but the grain is rather coarse.
More than twenty years ago, when the king of Bavaria was Prince Royal, and could only anticipate at some distant period the execution of his design, he projected a building, of which, at least, the name and purpose must be known to all who have ever stepped on German ground. This is the Valhalla, a temple raised to the national glory, and intended to contain the busts or statues of all the illustrious characters of Germany, whether distinguished in literature, arts, or arms, from their ancient hero and patriot Herman, or Arminius, down to Goëthe, and those who will succeed him. The idea was assuredly noble, and worthy of a sovereign. The execution
-never lost sight of–has been but lately commenced. The Valhalla has been founded on a lofty cliff, which rises above the Danube, not far from Ratisbon. It will form a conspicuous object to all who pass up and down the Danube, and the situation, nearly in the centre of Germany, is at least well chosen. But I could hardly express (or repress) my surprise, when I was shown the design for this building. The first glance recalled the Theseum at Athens; and then follows the very natural question, why should a Greek model have been chosen for an edifice, the object, and purpose, and name of which are so completely, essentially, exclusively gothic? What, in Heaven's name, has the Theseum to do on the banks of the Danube? It is true that the purity of forms in the Greek architecture, the effect of the continuous lines, and the massy Doric columns, must be grand and beautiful to the eye, 'place the object where you will; and in the situation designed for it, particularly imposing; but surely it is not appropriate;-the name, and the form, and the purpose, are all at variance—throwing our most cherished associations into strange confusion. Nor could the explanations and eloquent reasoning with which my objections were met, succeed in convincing me of the propriety of the design, while I acknowledged its magnificence. The sculptor, Mayer, showed me a group of figures for one of the pediments of this Greek Valhalla, admirably appro
* The first stone of the Valhalla was laid by the King of Bavaria, on the 18th of October, 1830.
priate to the purpose of the building—but not to the building itself. It represents Herman introduced by Hermoda (or Mercury) into the Valhalla, and received by Odin and Freya. Iduna advances to meet the hero, presenting the apples of immortality, and one of the Vahlküre pours out the mead, to refresh the soul of the Einheriar. * To the right of this group are several figures, representing the chief epochs in the history of Germany.
This design wants unity; and it is a manifest incongruity to allude to the introduction of Christianity, where the mythological Valhalla forms the chief point of interest; notwithstanding, it gave me exceeding pleasure, as furnishing an unanswerable proof of the possible application of sculpture on a grand scale, to the forms of romantic or gothic poetry: all the figures, the accompaniments, attributes, are strictly Teutonic; the effect of the whole is grand and interesting; but what would it be on a Greek temple ? would it not appear misplaced and discordant?
* The Einheriar are the souls of heroes admitted into the Valhalla.
I am informed, that of the two pediments of the Valhalla, one will be given to Rauch of Berlin, and the other to Schwanthaler.
The king of Bavaria has a gallery of beauties, (the portraits of some of the most beautiful women of Germany and Italy,) which he shuts up from the public eye, like any grand Turk—and neither bribery nor interest can procure admission. A lovely woman to whom I was speaking of it yesterday, and who has been admitted in effigy into this harem, seemed to consider the compliment rather equivocal. “Depend upon it, my dear,” said she, “that fifty years hence we shall be all confounded together, as the king's very intimate friends; and to tell you the truth, I am not ambitious of the honour, more particularly as there are some of my illustrious companions in charms, who are enough to throw discredit on the whole set !"
I saw in Stieler's atelier two portraits for this collection: one, a woman of rank-a dark beauty: the other, a servant girl here, with a head like one of Raffaelle's angels, almost divine; she is painted in the little filagree silver cap, the embroidered