An Apologetical Essay: In defense of the Egyptian and Tuscan Architecture

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vases with the same taste and design, on the body of the vase, on the cover, and on the handles; these members, I say, of architedure are the very same that the Tuscans made use of in their buildings, the very same that the Romans made use of from their first origin; and are conformable to the Grecian architedure. I only therefore need to cast my eyes on these vases to know in what manner the Hetrurians built their houses, their temples, and their sepulcres. In the same manner if at present we observe the furniture of our houses, we shall find its members to be conformable to our manner of building. (see the oppofite plates.)

But let us pass over to painting, and the vases alone will be sufficient to convince us of the skillfulness of the Tuscans in this art. And first, let those who are declared enemies of a multiplicity of ornaments observe how the paintings which are on the Tuscan vases, notwithstanding their number, instead of causing confusion, and taking away from their good taste and elegance, wonderfully set off the lines of architecture. This may be seen in the same plates, in which the paintings which adorned the Tuscan vases are divided into different claeees; some regarding architecture, as festoons, various kinds of meanders, fillets, stalks and herbs, little candlesticks, little temples, pineapples, mushrooms, husks of pines: others of figures of various kinds, as men, animals, masks, etc. Now I would ask whether these ornaments, which are certainly Tuscan, are wanting either in elegence, grace, dispofition, or in any other beauty which makes up the merit of a picture? Observe what a number of new inventions all of which are in Symmetry; consider those figures with one hand usually wraped up in the garments, and with draperies striated in the manner of shells, and dispofed with the greatest wisdom; consider, I repeat it again, what is wanting in them with regard either to skill or elegance? But if nothing is wanting, as in fact there is not, have I not reason to say, that tho we had nothing of the Tuscans but their vases, these alone would suffice to make us comprehend how excellent they were both in painting and architecture: since the merit of doing well in little as well as in great is derived from the same fountain of good taste, if we see that the Hetrurians excelled in small things, we may, nay ought to conclude that they were also excellent

in the great, and that if their vases are so well construded, so elegantly wrought, and so perfedly designed, their houses, their temples, their porticos, their forums ought likewise in the same manner to have been both magnificent and noble.

But it is not the vases alone which proves to us the skill of the Tuscan artists. How many statues are daily found both great and small, which tho only of clay, are executed with excellent taste and design: the Marquis Maffei, whom I have already cited, has taken notice of it, and I myself have seen great numbers found in Ardea, in the ancient Veij now called Isola Farnese, and in other parts of Tuscany. Among these, that in the possession of M. Hamilton British Minister at the Court of Naples does not deserve the last place. But if the richness of the matter were to be sought in the Tuscan statues, not to speak of those of bronze, the alabaster statues of Volterra unite the elegance of the design and workmanship with the richness of the materials. We may add to the vases and statues the Etruscan cameos and medals, of which I have seen several in Rome in the possession of M. Morison a learned and skillful antiquarian from Scotland, which would be taken by any one whosoever for Grecian workmanship of the most perfect manner, if their inscriptions were not wrote in Tuscan characters. To the cameos and medals may be added the paintings which still exist in the ancient grottos of Tuscany, in which are to be seen in spite of time, the destroyer of things, little candlesticks, reeds, vases, festoons, meanders, little figures grouped together, leaves, straws, butterflies, shells, fruit, and other such like things executed in a good style, and resembling those which have been found in Herculanum, of which I have engraved several in my answer to M. Mariette. But more than all the rest the grottos of Corneto deserve to be esteemed, they are already known to the greatest part of antiquarians, and professors of the fine arts, and among them to the very learned M.James Byres, architect, and antiquarian from Scotland, who is about publishing the designs of them in a work, in which will appear his extraordinary knowledge in both these arts. In these grottos are still to be seen paintings, monochromatic like those of the vases, and white like those of Zeuxis according to Pliny; others, tho in part defaced, with their proper relief of light and shade in various natural colors

correfponding to the subject. Now these paintings are as well designed as those of the vases, wrongfully attributed to the Grecian School.

One of these grottos deserves here to be described, which represents a quadrangular building, with a roof sustained by four pilasters, these pilasters are crowned with Tuscan capitals, or Doric, if we are so pleased to call them. On the ovolo is painted a festoon of laurel leaves, on the ring a basso relievo which represents a multitude of human figures in various attitudes, which seem to use violence against one another: on the freize are seen interwoven together shoots of vines with their leaves; round the top of the four walls reigns a continued cornice, likewise painted. It is divided into six parts, the highest of which represents a listel, the second an Echinus ornamented with leaves, the third a string of little eggs alternately oval, and round; the fourth another Echinus of eggs and anchors; the fifth a long and equal row of dentils; and lastly the sixth a long procession of human figures. The roof is cut with the chizel in imitation of a cieling, that is, with beams which form panels very like those in the cupola of the Pantheon. The mouldings of the cornices of these panels consist of two risings divided by an ovolo, and were painted in the following order: a row of eggs, and anchors adorned alternatively the first rising: a row of meanders rectangular, and interlaced adorned and surrounded the other projection.

All the paintings above-mentioned, with regard to their architectonical ornaments, are not, to say the truth, executed with the greatest diligence, but they are done with the greatest freedom, which proves that at the time that this grotto was cut out, these sorts of ornaments were very common among the Tuscans. But in regard of the human figures, they are most exquisitly designed, and are set in all their attitudes with the greatest knowledge, and propriety. In so much that in these grottos and a number of others, which are to be found all over Tuscany, is to be seen at the same time the perfection of art among the Tuscans, and that negligent frankness, which is not to be acquired but by a long practice.

But it is time to come out of these grottos, and to show the skill of the Tuscans in the arts, let us add to the little, which remains of their works, and which we ourselves may

see, what the ancient writers have related on this subjeft; and we shall have enough to make every candid and unprejudiced person judge more advantageously of the knowledge of the Tuscans.

And in the first place I could cite the testimony of Atheneus who relates that Ferecrates, an ancient poet, to commend the workmanship of a lamp, said it was Tuscan; and that Horace counted among precious things and gems the little Tuscan figures, the merit of which did not proceed from the richness of their materials, but from the fineness of their taste and exquisiteness of the workmanship; and that denies witnesses that the Tuscans carried even to war utensils, and furniture remarkable for their riches, and destined to luxury, and pleafure (Book IX.); and that Crisias praises the cups of gold, and vases of bronze of the Tuscans, where he enumerates, as may be seen in Atheneus, what are the things the most rare and valueable, which came from every Country. But setting these things aside, the Tuscan Apollo presents itself to my view that famous colossus which was fifty feet high from the toe to the head: hear what Pliny says of it It is hard to say whether this work is more to be admired for the bronze or for beauty. One must indeed be excessively prejudiced not to be moved at the strength of this elogium. Let it be considered that Pliny wrote this when he had before his eyes the most perfect productions of the Grecian artists, brought from Greece and Asia to Rome. Now how great an idea ought we not to have of a statue, which in contrast with so many Grecian and perfect ones, was however admired for its beauty. In the second place I put those carved works of which the same Pliny speaks (B.35.ch.12.) and says: Many temples still remain both in Rome and the municipal towns the pedimtnts of which are adorned with carving of admirable workmanship: more esteemable, and certainly more innocent than gold, for the length of their duration, that is, from the time of the Kings, of whom he had just before been speaking. If works placed upon the tops of temples and far from the sight, were executed with so much care and attention, what shall we say of those which were made to be seen near? In the third place deserves to be mentioned the temple of honour and virtue, built in Rome by C. Mutius, which, according to the opinion of Vitruvius, had it been of marble, would have united the perfection of art and the richness of the materials; and would have been reckoned among the first and most excellent works. In the fourth place may be put

the paintings, which were in Caere, a city of Tuscany, of which Pliny says: Other pictures, still more ancient, yet existing in Caere. And every one who shall diligently consider them, must own that no art ever came to perfection in a shorter time, since it was as not in use at the time of the Trojan war. I might likewise make use of those of Ardea and Lanuvium mentioned by Pliny; since it would not be difficult to prove that they were painted by Tuscan artists; But I stand in no need of such an advantage, the little which I have hinted is sufficient to show how unjustly the Tuscans are despised with regard to the arts and design.

But I very well foresee that some will object against me, that, if works of a good taste and perfed design were once found, and are still discovered in Hetruria, that these were the labors of Greeks who came and exercifcd their art in Tuscany, in the same manner as we know that they came for the same end from Greece to Rome. It is in this manner that the enemies of the Tuscans think and discourse; full of the merit of the Grecian artists, they do not know, or will not be persuaded that the arts were ever perfectioned any where but in Greece, or that they were ever exercifed with any degree of grace or perfection but by the Greeks. Now, without taking away the least from the merit of the Greeks, I mentain that the Tuscan works, of which I have hitherto discoursed, and which are so much extolled by Pliny, neither were, nor could possibly be the works of Greeks.

It is known to every one that the happy ages of the Grecian arts, those in which sculpture and painting were carried to that perfection which is so justly praised and admired, did not begin before the 83rd Olympiad for sculpturc, and later for painting; that is not before the year 306 after the foundation of Rome, this is evident from Pliny, and even the admirers of the Greeks do not deny it. Now this date is much later than those Tuscan and Italic works, so much extolled by the same Pliny. Hence I draw two consequences; one that tho the Tuscans had been a colony of Grecians who came to people Italy, which is not sufficiently proved, yet the skill and knowledge of the Tuscans in the arts would be nothing indebted to the Grecians: the other, that the arts were brought to perfection in Tuscany and Italy sooner than in Greece, and if the Greeks came to work in Italy and in Hetruria, they rather learned there than brought with them the good taste. But it will not be

so easy to prove that the Grecians came to work in Hetruria at the time of which we are speaking: and the opinion, which was current in the age of Cassiodorus in favour of the Tuscans, will always be a prejudice in their favor; to wit, that the statues in Italy were of Tuscan invention: which is, in my opinion, as much as to say that the Tuscans were the first that introduced the use of statues into Italy. The Tuscan statues, according to Pliny, were, from the most ancient times spread all over Italy, and the Tuscans had the reputation of being able statuaries. Hence it was that Tarquin sent to Fregella, a city of Hetruria, and not to Greece for an artist to make the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus. And it is now well known that in the city of Bolsena alone, another Tuscan city, were contained upwards of two thousand statues. It was this reputation of the Tuscans which made Tertullian, with reason to say, that the genius of the Tuscans, noless than that of the Greeks had overflowed Rome with statues. I hinted a little before that Tarquin made use of Tuscan artists in forming the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus, which brings into my mind, what I have read in Livy, to wit that this King sent for workmen out of all Tuscany, for the building of that superb temple. Now this fact to whoever considers it, is an authentic testimony of the abilities of the Tuscans with regard to architecture, the mistress of arts. The fine genius of the Tuscans shone forth also in this branch, notwithstanding what some may think, say, or write to the contrary: the ruins of the walls óf Cortona, of Volterra, and of Arezzo, which Vitruvius counted among the most remarkable works, are a sufficient teftimony of the magnificence of their buildings. But what? Ought not the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus already mentioned, the Cloaca Maxima of this city, made by Tarquin, the Roman roads, the famous emissary of the Alban lake, and the aqueducts of L. Marcius, works of immortality, admired and praised even by the Greeks, to be attributed to the Tuscans, as likewise so many remains of harbors on the coast of Tuscany? Whoever should deny these to be the works of the Tuscans, would show himfelf very ignorant of the Roman history. But magnificence and solidity in architecture cannot be denied to the Tuscans, tho elegance, grace, and delicacy will be denied them. If we are to give credit to many, we are obliged to the Greeks for every thing: they alone have been able to unite in the three orders, the Doric, the Ionic, and Corinthian,




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