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Another observation he makes, is, that Corregio, in drawing his figures, gave them generally the colours of the objects that he had before him in his own country, as Albert Durer gave to all other nations the costume of his own. He, however, commends Corregio highly for the invention of a new taste of defign, unknown before him, which he calls undulation or the waving-line, an elegant improvement (says he) in painting, and which has not been since successfully imitated by any artift.
We pafs over in silence our Author's judgment concerning Titian; because, though juft, it contains nothing new or uncommon. His obfervations on the taste of the ancients are instructive; they are juftly unfavourable to the ancient Romans, and they are not to the advantage of modern artists even of the first class; which, allowing them high and illustrious merit, he places nevertheless in a rank inferior to the ancients. These obfervations are followed by remarks on the Apollo of Belvidera, the Laocoon, the Hercules, the Gladiator, and the Torso. His remarks are learned, ingenious, and masterly ; and are, perhaps, equal to any thing we have in picturesque criticism. These noble figures give our Author an occasion of developing his ideas of the sublime : he examines them with attention and taste, unfolds their respective and characteristical beauties, and thews the lines and angles of which the contours and parts of these Itatues are composed. But is it not surprising, that, after having enlarged with rapture on the elegance of the Apollo, the force of the Hercules, the fimplicity of the Gladiator, and the sublime of the Torso, he thould, nevertheless, place the painting of the ancients above their sculpture, in the article of defign? We have scarcely any,-it may perhaps be said, that there is not one ancient picture remaining which can be looked upon as highly excellent, except the Nozze Aldobrandine; and what we read of the ancient painters in several authors (of whom some will hardly pass for competent judges of the matter) proves that the high reputation that certain ancient painters acquired, must perhaps be rather considered as relative to the degree of progress and perfection to which the art was carried in the times in which they lived, than to the real and intrinsic merit of their productions. Mr. Mengs was himself a witnefs of the discovery of one of the finest ancient pictures now known; and he drew a copy of it towards the latier part of his life. This piece, which represents Venus throwing down a parcel of little Cupids from the top of a tree, must be the work of some eminent artist of antiquity, since we find the same subject represented on the medals of Lucilia.
In the upanimous opinions of those who have seen this famous picture, it is inferior in taste, expresion, and design, even to the ancient statues of the second sate, which have come down
to our times; and it is certainly not to be compared with the pictures of Raphael, Guido, and Michael Angelo. Nevertheless Mr. Mengs affirms, that the pictures of the ancients are superior to the best productions of Raphael. He is the only competent judge, perhaps, who has said so; and if he had seeuz the objects of comparison, we should respect his judgment, and receive it as authority. But if he forms his notions of ancient pictures from the accounts of Pliny (who, being merely a naturalist, talks of painters more with the spirit of a colour-grinder than of a connoisseur), we must take the liberty to suspend our afsent to them. It is true, indeed, that the ancient statues form an argument from induction in favour of the excellence of the ancient paintings; for, if the progress of painting in ancient times was proportionable to that of sculpture (which it may or may not have been, for any thing we know with certainty), the judgment of our Author is not to be contested. We do not. remember that we have seen a head in any picture, which does not seem to fink into vulgarity, when compared with even a copy we once law of the head of the Apollo of Belvidera.
We leave our Author's fragment, relative to the creation and advance, cent of the fine arts in Spain to the consideration of those whom it principally concerns. Nor shall we say much of the letter to Mr. Falconet, which terminates this first volume, Mr. Falconet had spoken contemptuously of the lare Abbé Winkelman.- This was learned Pedantry Spouting muddy water against Taste and Genius. Our Author might have let the matter pass as we do; — but he was impelled by zeal to avenge his friend. · The second Volume contains Five Articles -ift, A Letter, and the Fragment of a Letter, to Monsignor Fabroni of the University of Pija. 2d, A Letter to Don Antonio Pontio 3d, Memoirs concerning the Life of Corregio. 4th, A Discourse concerning the Academy of the Fine Arts at Madrid. 5th, Practical Lefjons relative to painting.
In the first of these pieces our Author strays again into the region of paradox, which is rarely frequented by vulgar geniuses. Signior Fabroni wrote a differtation on some statues, representing the history of Nicbe, that were transported from Rome to Florence, and which have been always highly ad: ired by men of taste. Mr. Mengs thews, that this admiration has been carried too far, that the groupe in question is not so beautiful as hath been pretended, and he farther affirms, that it is not an original. Hitherturno paradox; - for such a learned and acute observer as our excellent Author, may have really discovered in this applauded work some characters of a copy that escape the sagacity not only of a common spectator, but even of a tolerable connoilleur. But when he makes a bold step farther, and allerts,
that the most celebrated statues of Rome, such'as the Apollo, the Gladiator, the Hercules, and the Laocoon, whose sublime and graceful beauty he always speaks of with rapture, are also copies of Greek originals that were still more excellent, we are quite disconcerted, and feel a kind of anxiety, less ignoble perhaps, but yet something similar to what a miser feels when a guinea is palmed upon him that wants a penny of its weight. His reasons, however, for this singular decision are not derived from any defeets that he has noticed in these famous statues (and this gives us some comfort) but mostly from accidental circumstances, and a certain combination of what he calls probabilities, which we do not at all think convincing.
In the conclusion of this Letter our Author observes, that it might be useful to the progress of the art, to consider the ancient ftatues we possess, only as copies of more perfect originals; as this would excite the emulation of young artists, and prevent their excusing their faults by attributing them to an exa&t imitation of the ancient models. This thought shews spirit and ambition ; it looks, however, somewhat like the spirit of Erasmus, who, to promote and facilitate the progress of Latinity, undertook to correct the stile of CICERO. We shall reserve, for another occasion, a farther account of this instructive work, and of its learned, elegant, and ingenious Author. When we have given him these three epithets, we have done justice only to the smallest part of his merit. The heart of this admirable artist was as candid, generous, and virtuous, as his pencil was natural, chaste, and sublime. We propose making the man, as well as the artist, farther known to our Readers, in a future Review,
Art. III. Extract of a Letter to Father COTTE, Priest of the Oratory, Curate of Montmorenci, and Correspondent Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences, CONCERNING A CURIOUS ASTRONOMICAL MACHINE, &c. &c.
This Letter was written to Father Cotte, by M. VAN SWINdex, Professor of Philosophy at Franeker in Friesland, and it contains an account of a production of unaffifted genius that almost surpasses credibility. The part of the Letter that relates to this truly surprising fact, is as follows: "I am now employed in the publication of a pamphlet in the Dutch language on a singular subject : it contains the description of a very curious machine, which exhibits a complete planetarium or orrery, a moveable planisphere, and represents, moreover, all the mo. tions of the moon, the mean motions as well as the true. This machine was invented, calculated, and made by a citizen of Franeker in Friesland, who never had seen any thing of the kind, nor any description, plate, or drawing, that had the least relation to such an invention. It was owing to the mere unaffist
achiker in Friedeription, place: was o
ed impulse of genius. He wrought at it in secret and in silence, without communicating his design to any person ; and applied himself to the study of astronomy to which he had a propensity from his early youth, and in which he had made a certain progress before he undertook this surprising work. He employed in the study of this science all the hours of leisure that his calling (which is that of a wool-carder) would admit of. I Thall here give you a compendious description of this machine, which is superior to any I have ever seen. I am publishing a still more ample and circumstantial account of ic in Dutch, to acquaint my countrymen with the uncommon merit of this modest and ingenious man, who has such an eminent title to the applause of the Public.
This masterly piece of workmanship consists, first, of a complete planetarium or orrery, which contains all the principal planets and the moon. Each of these bodies is placed at its proportional distance from the sun, moves in an excentric orbit, according to its true excentricity, and follows, in its motion, the laws of the true anomaly, moving, with more velocity, towards the perihelion, than towards the aphelioo : each moves in its periodical time; for the whole machine is kept in motion by a pendulum clock. The moon revolves about the earth, is carried with the earth, in its motion, round the sun, and disco. vers her phases in every part of her orbit. The planetarium is fastened to the cieling of the chamber, and the wheel work, which is remarkable for its fimplicity, is placed between the rafters and the cieling. The cieling is consequently divided into fix excentric circles, that the Tanks, which bear the fix principal planets may pass through the grooves. The planes of these circles are fastened by vices to the rafters. There is also a se. venth excentric circle, through the groove of which an index passes, which points out, every day, the longitude and the declination of the sun, the month and the day of the month, and the sign of the zodiac in which the sun is. Each planet marks its longitude on a circle, which surrounds the groove, through which its shank or supporter passes. The places of the nodes, the aphelion and the perihelion, are marked on each of these circles, and to avoid all confusion and obscurity, the degrees from the ascending to the descending node are marked on the outside of the groove, and the others on the inside. Thus it is easy to perceive, by a fingle look, whether the latitude is northero or southern, and the complement of latitude is indicated at every five degrees of longitude. When a person is fitting in this chamber, he has only to lift up his eyes, and he sees the whole arrangement and situation of the planets on the cieling.
There is, moreover, an index which points out the day of the week and the hour of the day, as also the year, whose number
changes changes in the night of the 31st of December. All this is ad. mirably adjusted ; but much more remains yet to be described.
At the end of this astronomical chamber there is an alcove, at the fide of which is a cupboard, both of wood. Above the alcove a celestial planisphere is placed, with several dials arranged with symmetry, two of which are above the cupboard. The principal stars, the equator, and the ecliptic, are delineated on the planisphere, which moves on its centre in 23 solar hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds. The sun is placed in the ecliptic, and moves with the rest of the heavens every day; but his proper and annual revolution in the ecliptic is also pointed out. The planisphere is bordered by an horizon, such as is required for the latitude of Franeker; and different lines indicate the eight principal rhumbs and horary lines. Thus the spectator sees the sun and stars rise every day, proceed to the meridian, and set, as these motions are performed in nature, and the sun likewise producing, by his course in the ecliptic, the various seasons and the unequal duration of day and night. At the moment that the sun rises or sets, he marks upon the horizon the time of the day; and this may be seen every moment of the day by observe ing in what horary circle the sun is. The situation of the stars allo, which are above the horizon, may be seen every moment,
I proceed to the dials : they are as many in number, as are the objec?s which are to be represented :
The Hour of Sun.sise. 2
of! All these dials divided into the Moon.
hours (for the four first objects) - of her setting. or into signs and degrees (for The place of the Apogée.
'i the two last) have only one --- of the ascending
index. node. The distance of the Moon from,
her ascending node
and her latitude. These dials, divided into The distance of the Moon from signs and degrees, have two
her Apogée. Jindexes, of which the smallest -- from the Sun - marks the signs and the other
the phases and age ( the degrees, as it would mark,
longitude. There dials are the most difficult and the most ingeniously contrived parts of this beautiful machine; because none of the indexes have a uniform motion, but have all a motion occasionally