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THE DANCE OF APOLLO AND THE MUSES.
CROWNED with laurel, and armed with his quiver, Apollo is seen dancing with the Muses. They hold each other by the hand. The names of these divinities are written in Greek at the foot of the picture. This custom, which appertains to the infancy of the art, was adopted by some painters of antiquity. Polygnotes, among others, had frequent recourse to this method to explain his subjects.
The ground of this picture is gilt, and the figures of the proportion of one foot.
It was reserved for a painter who possessed, in a very eminent degree, a poetical genius, to represent the divinities who preside over the fine arts.
This picture, like the other compositions of this artist, offer the most graceful attitudes, beautiful heads, life, expression, and correct design; but in it is observable, that dryness of pencil, that manner somewhat too austere, which the example and lessons of his master Raphael, could never entirely make him relinquish.
The death of Raphael appears to have given new vigour to the genius of Julio Romano, and opened to his view the most pleasing prospects. Until that period, following compleatly the ideas of that immortal artist, and
THE DANCE OF APOLLO AND THE MUSES. executing them with exactness, he appropriated to himself, in some degree, the beauties of that illustrious painter.
But, upon his death, abandoning himself to the fire of his own character, he neglected many important points. He no longer consulted nature, that source of infinite variety, and frequently wholly neglected her in the attitude of his heads, and the folds of his draperies. His carnations are red, and his shadows somewhat outrées. Notwithstanding these defects, we cannot but admire the sublimity of his thoughts, and the prodigious fecundity of his imagination.