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on my memory, premising, that for the artist and the antiquarian it affords inexhaustible materials.
The whole city, which is very large, lies crowded and compact within its walls; but the fortifications, once the wonder of all Germany, and their three hundred and sixty-five towers, once the glory and safeguard of the inhabitants, exist no longer. Four huge circular towers stand at the principal gates,-four huge towers of almost dateless antiquity, and blackened with age, but of such admirable construction, that the masonry appears, from its entireness and smoothness, as if raised yesterday. The old castle, or fortress, which stands on a height commanding the town, and a glorious view, is a strange, dismantled, incongruous heap of buildings. It happened, that in the summer of 1833, the king of Bavaria, accompanied by the queen and the princess Matilda, had paid his good city of Nuremberg a visit, and had been most royally entertained by the inhabitants: the apartments in the old castle, long abandoned to the rats and spiders, had been prepared for the royal guests, and, when I saw it, three or four months afterwards,
nothing could be more uncouth and fantastical than the effect of these irregular rooms, with all manner of angles, with their carved wormeaten ceilings, their curious latticed and painted windows, and most preposterous stoves, now all tricked out with fresh paint here and there, and hung with gay glazed papers of the most modern fashion, and the most gaudy patterns.
Even the chapel, with its four old pillars, which, according to the legend, had been brought by Old Nick himself from Rome, and the effigy of the monk who had cheated his infernal adversary by saying the Litanies faster than had ever been known before or since, had, in honour of the king's visit, received a new coat of paint. There are some very curious old pictures in the castle, (which luckily were not repainted for the same grand occasion,) among them an original portrait of Albert Durer. In the court-yard of the fortress stands an extraordinary relic—the old limetree planted by the Empress Cunegunde, wife of the Emperor Henry III.; every thing is done to preserve it from decay, and it still bears its leafy honours, after beholding the revolution of seven centuries.
From the fortress we look down upon the house of Albert Durer, which is preserved with religious care; it has been hired by a society of artists, who use it as a club-room: his effigy in stone is over the door. In every house there is a picture or print of him; or copies, or engravings from his works, and his head hangs in every print shop. The street in which he lived is called by his name, and the inhabitants have moreover built a fountain to his honour, and planted trees around it;-in short, Albert Durer is wherever we lookwherever we move. What can Fuseli mean by saying that Albert Durer « was a man of extreme ingenuity without being a genius?” .Does the man of mere ingenuity step before his age as Albert Durer did, not as an artist only, but as a man of science? Is not genius the creative power? and did not Albert Durer possess this power in an extraordinary degree? Could Fuseli have seen his four apostles now in the gallery of Munich, when he said that Albert Durer never had more than an occasional glimpse of the sublime?
Fuseli, as an artist, is an example of what I have seen in other minds, otherwise directed. The stronger the faculties, the more of original power in the mind, the less diffused is the sympathy, and the more is the judgment swayed by the individual character. Thus Fuseli, in his remarks on painters-excellent and eloquent as they are—scarcely ever does justice to those who excel in colour. He perceives and admits the excellence, but he shows in his criticisms, as in his pictures, that the faculty was wanting to feel and appreciate it: his remarks on Correggio and Rubens are a proof of this. In listening to the criticisms of an author on literature-of a painter on pictures—and, generally, to the opinion which one individual expresses of the character and actions of another, it is wise to take into consideration the modification of mind in the person who speaks, and how far it may, or must, influence, even where it does not absolutely distort, the judgment; so many minds are what the Germans call one-sided ! The education, habits, mental existence of the individual, are the refracting medium through which the rays of truth pass to the mind, more or less bent or
absorbed in their passage.
We should make philosophical allowance for different degrees of density.
Hans Sachs,* the old poet of Nuremberg, did as much for the Reformation by his songs and satires, as Luther and the doctors by their preaching; besides being one of the worshipful company of meister-singers, he found time to make shoes, and even enrich himself by his trade: he informs us himself, that he had composed and written with his own hand “four thousand two hundred mástership songs; two hundred and eight comedies, tragedies, and farces; one thousand seven hundred fables, tales, and miscellaneous poems; and seventy-three devotional, military, and love songs.” It is said he excelled in humour, but it was such as might have been expected from the times-it was vigorous and
“Hans," says the critic, "tells his tale like a convivial burgher, fond of his can, and still fonder of his drollery.”If this be the case, his house has received a very appropriate designation: it is now an ale-house, from which,
* Born at Nuremberg in 1494.
† See the admirable “Essay on the Early German and Northern Poetry,” already alluded to.