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particularly to the latter, is so striking, that it would have exposed him to the suspicion of having copied it. I could have fancied myself in a Roman theatre of two thousand years ago, so perfectly antique is the style and decorations of this of Vicenza; and the solidity of the immoveable scenery and ornaments encouraged the illusion.
It is not a little creditable to the academy whence this theatre takes its name, that it was erected by the desire and at the expense of its members; who, embued with the love of classic lore, wished that the scene, in which their representations of the tragedies of the ancients were to be enacted, should resemble that of the time in which they were produced. Here was performed the dramas of Sophocles and Euripides, not by ordinary actors, but by the members of the Olympic Academy; and the strictest attention is said to have been paid to the costumes, manners, and customs of the age and country where the scene of the tragedy was laid.
Few towns have ever stood more indebted to one of her sons than has Vicenza to Palladio, who has erected buildings in it that will long claim the admiration of travellers, giving to this comparatively small place an interest and attraction rarely to be found in the proudest modern cities. But the skill and taste of this admirable architect would have failed to enrich his native town as it has done, had it not found constant employment, furnished by the wealthy and great of his townsmen.
those stately palaces that still command attention ; and prove how well Palladio understood the application of his art to the erection of dwellings, in which elegance and fitness reign.
The Valmarano Palace offers one of the finest specimens of Palladio's taste and skill, and the others, built from his designs, not less in number than eighteen or twenty, if less perfect, are still very
creditable to him. A house of less dimensions is shown, said to have been that which Palladio erected for himself; and the exquisite taste that distinguishes it, proves it to have been a labour of love. Our cicerone assured us, with all the gravity suitable to the announcement of so important a fact, that Palladio did not build the house for himself, though it was true be had subsequently occupied it: and told a long story of its having been erected from the design of Palladio for some person, whose name I forget, and who dying after its completion, it became the residence of its architect.
Palladio, of all modern artists, seems to me to have been the one whose mind was the most deeply imbued with the classical taste of Vitruvius; and who, with a praiseworthy desire of beautifying all that he touched, made his art subservient to the decoration of buildings erected not solely as specimens of architectural skill, but as residences for private individuals. From early youth, the works of Palladio evince the fine taste that peculiarly appertained to him : of which assertion the Trissino
Palace, said to have been erected before he had attained his majority, is a striking proof.
There are two palaces called Trissino at Vicenza, one of which is the work of Scamozzi, and very creditable to him; but I confess I looked with more interest at its namesake, one of the earliest buildings of Palladio. The Palazzo del Capitanio and the triumphal arch at the gate of Campus Martius, were also designed by Palladio; and are striking ornaments to his native town. The churches at Vicenza are numerous, but I have only visited the cathedral and the Corona. The first contains many good pictures by Montagna, Maganza, Zelotti, and Liberi: and the second has an admirable work from the pencil of my favourite, Paolo Veronese, as well as clever pictures by Giovanni Bellini, and Montagna.
I am but just returned from seeing the church of Nostra Signora del Monte; and though fatigued by the unusual exertion of so long a walk, and in a hot day, I cannot refrain from writing down my impressions while they are yet warm in my mind. The ascent to the church is through a portico of more than a mile in length, and built of solid stone, affording protection from rain, and the too fervid rays of an Italian sun.
The views caught through the openings on the right of this portico, on ascending, are beautiful; and the clear deep blue sky that canopies them, adds to them an inexpressible charm. Nowhere have I seen any thing that so completely realised my preconceived notions of Italian scenery
as this portico, and the views it commands; and so great was the pleasure they conferred, that I was insensible to the fatigue of the ascent while making it.
The church pleased me less than the portico, for the simplicity of the latter makes the rich decorations of the former, appear too heavy. It is in the form of a Greek cross, and built of fine stone, has a dome in the centre, and is in the Corinthian order. A convent joins this church, from one of the windows of which I beheld a landscape that forcibly reminded me of those charming ones of Claude Loraine ; so bright, so glowing, yet so tender were the hues of the objects that composed it, bathed in the glories of the morning light.
This same light streamed in through the high windows of the church, and invested with new beauty the pictures that decorate it. Among these, the portrait of Francesco Grimani, in a religious habit, and contemplating a rainbow, and the Virgin and child in the sky, as also a large allegorical picture by Giubio Carpioni, possess great merit; though they lose considerably by a comparison with a noble picture by Paolo Veronese, representing Christ seated at a table, attired in the dress of a pilgrim, and the Adoration of the Magi by Montagna, which are in the refectory of the convent.
Mass was celebrating when we entered the church, and though there were but few persons present, the scene was impressive, from the profound devotion with which they seemed inspired. No head was turned, no eye moved, to note the presence of strangers; a total abstraction from earthly objects appeared to pervade those around, who, kneeling on the pavement with hands clasped, and eyes uplifted, offered admirable studies to the painter. The light, too, falling brightly from the high windows on the kneeling figures, and shedding a sort of glory on the gilded ornaments of the altar, and the white-robed priest who officiated at it, the rays of the sun now playing over some glowing picture, and casting prismatic hues on the marble, gave to the whole scene an indescribable and touching beauty.
The early morn, when Nature wakes from repose with increased freshness, and man, too, commences another day of the brief span allowed him on earth, is a meet season for prayer and thanksgiving in all places; but here, where a blue sky and a genial sun make their influence so deliciously felt, the heart more spontaneously lifts itself in gratitude, than where opaque clouds and chilling winds prevail. A fine climate makes us enjoy existence; a bad one consoles us for its brevity.
Saw the celebrated Casino Marchesi, known as the Rotondo, to-day. It is one of Palladio's chefsd'ouvre, and is admirably suited to the scenery around it. It reminded me so forcibly of the Duke of Devonshire's villa at Chiswick, of which this casino furnished the model, that for a few minutes