THE town on the North Side, we saw, was early surrounded by a suburban belt of gardens and monasteries. A similar zone encircled the old University on the South Bank. The wall of Philippe Auguste, you will remember, bent abruptly southward in order to enclose the abbey of Ste. Geneviève ; but an almost more important monastic establishment was left outside it a little to the west. This was the gigantic abbey of St. Germain-des-Prés, whose very name betokens its original situation. This rich and powerful community, whose building covered an enormous area of ground on the Left Bank, and grew at last into a town by itself, was originally founded by Childebert I. as a thanks-offering for his victory over the Visigoths in Spain in 543. Childebert, it may be, remarked, was one of the most religious-minded among the Frankish monarchs, which is why we have more than once met with his effigy in Gothic sculpture. He was also one of those few Merovingian kings who especially made his residence in Paris. On the portal of the other St. Germain (l’Auxerrois), which has numerous points in common with this one, we saw him represented with his wife Ultrogothe and the earlier St. Germain, a naïve way of expressing the fact that the king and queen first gave that church to the sainted bishop. At the Louvre, too, we saw his statue from this very monastery. Among the sacred objects which Childebert brought back from Spain was the tunic of St. Vincent, the patron saint of prisoners. When he was besieging Saragossa, he saw the inhabitants carry this tunic in unarmed procession round the walls; which so convinced him of its value that he raised the siege, on condition that he might take the holy object home with him. He also brought a large rich gold cross, ornamented with precious stones, from Toledo, a piece of jeweller’s work which might probably be compared with the crowns of the Gothic kings preserved at Cluny. St.
Germain, Bishop of Paris (who must not be confounded with his earlier namesake of Aux-erre), recommended to the king the foundation of a new church and abbey, in order fitly to receive these holy relics. A church was therefore built in the garden belt outside the wall, and was originally dedicated (as was natural) to the holy cross and St. Vincent. The latter thus became one of the local saints of Paris, through its possession of his tunic; and his effigy may often be seen, with or without that of his brother deacon St. Stephen, on many of the older buildings of the city. We noticed him in particular on the portal of St. Germain l’Auxerrois, and on the frescoes within, though it was premature then to explain his presence. Note here that possession of the body of a saint (St. Denis, Ste. Geneviève) or of some important relic (St. Vincent’s tunic, St. Mar-tin’s cloak at St. Severin) almost invariably gives rise to local churches, and decides the cult of local patrons.
Later on, St. Germain of Paris, having died, was buried in turn in Childebert’s church of St. Vincent. His body being preserved here (as it still is) and working many miraculous cures, it came about in time that St. Vincent and the holy cross were almost forgotten, and the local bishop whose bones were revered on the spot grew to be the acknowledged patron of the mighty abbey which surrounded his shrine. Such of the early Merovingian kings as were buried in Paris had their tombs in this first church ; their stone coffins may still be seen at the Hôtel Carnavalet. The abbey, which belonged to monks of the Benedictine order, grew to be one of the most famous in Europe ; its name is still bestowed upon the whole of the faubourg (long since imbedded in the modern town) of which it forms the centre. It was to the South Bank what St. Denis was to Northern Paris.
The existing church, of course, save for a few small fragments, is of far later date than the age of Childebert. Most of the Paris churches and monasteries suffered severely at the hands of the Normans ; even those which were not then burnt down or sacked were demolished and rebuilt in a more sumptuous style, by the somewhat irreverent piety of later ages. This, the present church of St. Germain-des-Prés, belongs for the most part to the eleventh century. It is therefore older than Notre-Dame or the Sainte Chapelle, and even as a whole than the greater part of St. Denis. It exhibits throughout that earlier Romanesque style, which formed the transitional term between classical architecture and the pointed arches of the Gothic period. (What we call “Norman” is a local modification of Romanesque.) Portions of the building, however, show Gothic tendency ; and the upper part is pure Pointed. Most of the abbey has long since been swept away ; a small part of the building still remains in the rear of the existing church. St. Germain should be visited, if only on account of the fact that it is the earliest large ecclesiastical building now standing in or near Paris. Flandrin’s noble modern frescoes have given it of comparatively recent years another form of attractivenesss.
During the Renaissance period, while many of the nobility fixed their seats in the eastern and northeastern part of Paris-within-the-Boulevards on the Right Bank, not a few erected houses for themselves in the open spaces of the Faubourg St. Germain. The most magnificent of these later buildings is the Palais du Luxembourg, erected for Marie de Médicis, after the death of Henri IV., by Jacques Debrosse, one of the best French architects of the generation which succeeded that of Jean Goujon and Philibert Delorme. It was built somewhat after the style of the Pitti Palace at Florence, where Marie was born, and it exhibits the second stage of French Renaissance architecture, when it was beginning to degenerate from the purity, beauty, and originality of its first outburst, toward the insipid classicism of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. It was for this building that Rubens executed his great series of pictures from the life of Marie, now in the Louvre ; while Lesueur painted his St. Bruno legends for a Carthusian monastery within the grounds. The gardens ‘which surrounded it are interesting in their way, as being the only specimen now remaining in Paris of Renaissance methods of laying out ; most of the other palaces have gardens designed by Le Nôtre in the formal style of Louis XIV. The palace is now occupied by the Senate ; it is practically difficult of access, and the interior contains so little of interest that it may well be omitted save by those who can spend much time in being ushered round almost empty rooms by perfunctory officials. But the exterior, the gardens, and the Medici fountain should be visited by all those who wish to form a consistent idea of Renaissance Paris.
In the same excursion may be easily combined a visit to St. Sulpice, a church which occupies the site of an old foundation, but which was entirely rebuilt from the ground in the age of Louis XIV., and which is mainly interesting as the best example of the cold, lifeless, and grandiose taste of that pompous period.
The Faubourg St. Germain and the quarter about it, as a whole, are still the region of the old noble families. The western end of this faubourg, especially about the Quai d’Orsay, is given over to embassies and political machinery, particularly that connected with foreign affairs. The South Bank is also the district of the Legislature, in both its branches. The Quartier Latin, however, has largely over-flowed of recent years into the Luxémbourg district and that immediately behind it, which are now to a great extent occupied by the students, artists, and other Bohemian classes.
Cross the river, if possible, by the Pont de la Concorde. The classical building which fronts you proclaims itself legibly on its very face as the Chambre des Députés. But it has borne in its time many other names. This façade to-ward the river is of the age of the First Empire ; the main edifice, however, is much older, being the Palais Bourbon, built in 1722 for the Duchesse de Bourbon. In 1790 it was confiscated, and has ever since been the seat of one or other legislative body, according to the government of the moment.
You can go round to the back, as you pass, to inspect the original façade, in the style of Louis XIV., facing the little Place du Palais Bourbon. The interior is uninteresting, but has a few good pictures, which should only be visited by those whose time is unlimited.
The river front is on the Quai d’Orsay, the centre of modern political and diplomatic Paris. The building to the right of the Chamber is the official residence of its president ; still farther to the right, the Ministère des Affaires Étrangères. The broad thoroughfare which opens obliquely southeastward to the left of the Chamber is the Boulevard St. Germain, which we have crossed before in other parts of its semicircle. It was Haussmannised in a wide curve through the quiet streets of the faubourg, and the purlieus of the Quartier Latin, with ruthless regularity. Many of the tranquil, aristocratic roads characteristic of the region lie to the right and left of it ; their type should be casually noted as you pass them. Down the Rue de Lille stands the German Embassy ; on the boulevard itself, on the right, the Ministère de la Guerre, and farther on, to the left, the Travaux Publics. Other ministries and embassies cluster thickly be-hind, about the diplomatic Rue de Grenelle and its neighbours. To the right again, the Boulevard Raspail, another very modern street, not yet quite complete, runs southward through the heart of the Luxembourg district. Continue straight along the Boulevard St. Germain, till you reach the place of the same name, with the church of St. Germain-des-Prés full in front of you. It may also be reached directly by the Rue Bonaparte ; but this other is a more characteristic and instructive approach to the Abbey Church which forms the centre of the quarter. Observe how the new boulevard skirts its side, giving a clever effect of its having always been there; the front of the church is round the corner in the Rue Bonaparte.
The exterior, with the houses still built against it in places, though picturesque, has little minute architectural detail. The massive tower has been so much renewed as to be practically modern ; but the Romanesque arches near the top give it distinction and beauty. The mean and unworthy porch is of the seventeenth century ; the inner portal, however (though its arch has been Gothicised), belongs to the Romanesque church and is not without interest. Observe the character of the pilasters and capitals, with grotesque animals. Statues of St. Germain, of Childebert and Ultrogothe (as at the other St. Germain), and of Clovis, etc., which once flanked the door, were destroyed at the Revolution. In the tympanum are the unusual subjects of the Eternal Father, blessing, and beneath him a Romanesque relief of the Last Supper (not, as commonly, the Last Judgment).
The interior still preserves in most part its Romanesque arches and architecture ; but the lower part of the nave is the oldest portion (early twelfth century) ; the choir is about a century later. Most of the pillars have had their capitals so modernised and gilt as to be of relatively little interest, while the decorations, though good and effective, are in many cases of such a sort as effectually to conceal the real antiquity of the building. The church was used during the great Revolution as a saltpetre factory, and was restored and redecorated in polychrome a little too freely under the Second Empire. A few capitals, however, notably those of the baptistery, to the left as you enter, retain their antique carving and are worthy of notice ; while even the modern gilt figures on those of the aisle are Romanesque in character and quaint in conception. (You can examine some of the old ones which they replace in the garden at Cluny.)
Walk round the church. The architecture of the ambulatory and choir, though later, is in a much more satisfactory condition than that of the main body. The arches of the first story are mostly round, but pointed in the apse ; those of the clerestory are entirely Gothic. The detail below is good Romanesque ; study it. Observe the handsome triforium, between the two stories ; and more especially the interesting capitals of the columns, relics of the original church of Childebert, built into the later fabric. The choir, on the whole, is a fine specimen of late twelfth century work. The Lady-Chapel, behind, is a modern addition.
After having thus walked round the aisles and the back of the choir to observe the architecture, return once more to the doorway by which you entered and proceed up the nave, in order to notice the admirable modern frescoes by Flandrin (Second Empire). These are disposed in pairs, each containing subjects, sup-posed to be parallel, from the Old and New Testaments. Note in these the constant survival of early traditions, revivified by Flandrin in accordance with the art of his own period. The subjects are as follows :
Begin on the left. (i) The Annunciation, treated somewhat in the traditional manner, the relative positions of the Madonna and the Angel Gabriel being preserved, typified by the Almighty appearing to Moses in the Burning Bush, as his first Annunciation. (2) The Nativity, as the pledge of redemption ; typified or rendered necessary by the Fall. (The New Testament scenes are of course the usual series ; those from the Old Testament fore-shadow them, for which reason they are placed in the opposite from the chronological order.) (3) The adoration of the Magi (reminiscences of the conventional, entirely altered by Oriental costumes and attitudes of submission) ; typified by Balaam blessing Israel, a famous picture. (4) The Baptism in Jordan (positions conventional, with the three angels to the left as always) ; typified by the Passage of the Red Sea. (5) The Institution of the Eucharist, very original in treatment ; typified by Melchisedec bringing forth bread and wine to Abraham. Now return by the right side, beginning at the transept : (6) The Betrayal of Christ by Judas ; typified by the Sale of Joseph. (7) The Crucifixion, a very noble picture ; typified by the Offering of Isaac, full of pathos. (8) The Resurrection ; typified by Jonah restored from the sea, the whale being with great tact omitted. (9) The Keys given to Peter ; typified by the Dispersion of the Nations at Babel. (A little thought is sometimes required to connect these subjects, which are occasionally, as in the last pair, rather to be regarded as opposites than typesthe one remedying the other. Thus, the counterpart to the Dispersal at Babel is Christ’s command to preach the Gospel to all nations.)
Above this fine frieze of subject-pictures runs a course of single figures, grouped in pairs, on either side of the windows in the clerestory. They are Old Testament characters, from Adam and Eve onward, ending with John the Baptist, as the last of the prophets. But as all the characters have their names legibly inscribed beside them, I need not enumerate them all, however, should be observed, especially Adam and Eve, Miriam, Deborah, and Judith. Hold your hat or a book to cover the light from the windows, if the glare is too great, and after a little while you will see them distinctly.
Now proceed again to the front of the choir. On either side are other mural paintings, also by Flandrin: (I) On the left, The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem, very beautiful ; on the right, The Bearing of the Cross. Round the choir, the Twelve Apostles ; by the pointed arches of the apse, the symbols of the Evangelists, the angel, lion, bull, and eagle. Above all an interesting link with the earlier history of the church are the pious founders, Childebert and Ultrogothe ; the original patron, St. Vincent, with his successor, St. Germain ; and finally, Abbot Morard, who rebuilt the church, substantially in its present form, after the Nor-man invasion. He is thus commemorated in the beautiful choir which represents the work of his successor, Abbot Hugues, in the next century.
Before leaving, observe, architecturally speaking, how a Romanesque church of this type leads up to the more complex arrangement, with chevet and chapels, in Notre-Dame and later Gothic churches. Note the simplicity and dignity of the choir. Note also the peculiar character of the vaulting, comparing it with the later type at Notre-Dame, and especially with the reversion to much the same form in Renaissance times at St. Etienne-du-Mont, and St. Eustache. In spite of its newness, much of the modern decorative work is extremely effective ; indeed, as a specimen of almost complete internal decoration, this church, notwithstanding the cruel overlaying of its early Romanesque sculpture by gold and paint, is perhaps the most satisfactory of any in Paris, except the Sainte Chapelle. I strongly advise you to sit down for some time and inspect the capitals built into the aisle, and the beautiful Merovingian pillars of the triforium, with an opera-glass, at your leisure.
On quitting the church, walk round it for the view on every side, which is picturesque and characteristic. Behind it, in the Rue de l’Abbaye, stands an interesting portion of the sixteenth century Abbot’s Palace, the only remaining relic of the vast conventual buildings, once enclosed for defence by a wall and moat, and containing a large lay and clerical population, like a little city. The sumptuous carved and gilded figure of Childebert, the founder, in the Mediæval Sculpture Room at the Louvre, came from the doorway of the old refectory, a magnificent work by Pierre de Montereau (the architect of the Sainte Chapelle),now wholly demolished. After you have visited each church you will often find it pleasant to look out for such isolated works, divorced at present from their surroundings, and placed at Cluny or else-where. They will always gain new meaning for you by being thus identified as belonging to such and such an original building. For in-stance, in the Christian Antiquities Room at the Louvre, you will find an interesting capital of a pillar belonging to the Merovingian church of St. Vincent.
Now return to the Boulevard St. Germain, which a little farther on occupies the site of the old Abbey Prison, famous as the scene of the massacres in September, 1792. Take the Rue Bonaparte on the opposite side, and go straight on till you reach the Place St. Sulpice, with its huge church in front of you. The building replaces an earlier one to the same saint : under Louis XIV., when the Faubourg St. Germain was becoming the quarter of the nobles, it was rebuilt in a style of ugly magnificence, befitting the maker of Versailles and Marly.
St. Sulpice, a vast bare barn, is chiefly interesting, indeed, as a gigantic specimen of the coldly classical type of church built under Louis XIV., when Gothic was despised, and even the Renaissance richness of St. Eustache and St. Étienne was decried as barbaric. It is a painful monument of declining taste. The exterior is chilly. The façade, whose sole recommendation nowadays is its size and its massiveness, is a triumph of its kind ; it consists of two stories, with arcades of Doric and Ionic pillars superimposed on one another, and crowned with a pair of octagonal towers, only one of which is completed. The scanty detail of the sculpture is of the familiar character of the decadent period. But Fergusson praises the general effect of the exterior.
The interior consists of a cruciform pseudo-classical nave, with aisles, two bare single transepts, and a choir ending in a circular apse, all vast, gloomy, barren, and unimpressive. The pillars and pilasters have Corinthian capitals, and most of the sculpture betrays the evil influence of Bernini. The holy water stoups, by the second pillars, however, are more satisfactory : they consist of huge shells, presented by the Republic of Venice to François Ier, standing on bases by Pigalle, an effective piece of decorative work in this unpleasing edifice. As a whole, this chilly interior stands in marked contrast to the polychromatic richness of St. Germain-des-Prés, and to the exquisite Gothic detail of Notre-Dame and St. Germain-l’Auxerrois. The roof and false cupola contrast very much to their disadvantage with the charming Renaissance vaulting of St. Etienne-du-Mont and St. Eustache. Accept this visit as penance done to the age of Louis XIV. Save historically, indeed, this barren church is almost devoid of interest. Like everything of its age, it aims at grandeur : it only succeeds in being gaunt and grandiose. The very size is thrown away for want of effective vistas and groups of pillars ; it looks smaller than it is, and sadly lacks furnishing.
Several of the chapels around this disappointing church, however, contain many good modern pictures : most of them also bear the names of the saints to whom they are dedicated, which largely aids the recognition of the symbolism. I enumerate a few of them for their interest in this matter. Right aisle, (1) St. Agnes. Jacob and the angel ; Heliodorus expelled from the Temple; by Delacroix. (2) Chapel of souls in Purgatory. Religion brings comfort to the dying ; benefit of prayers for the dead ; by Heim. (3) Chapel of St. Roch, the plague-saint. He prays for the plague-stricken ; he dies in prison at Montpelier ; by Abel de Pujol. (4) St. Maurice, the soldier saint. His legend ; by Vinchon. Left aisle. The chapels here are chiefly dedicated to the newer humanitarian saints of Catholicism. (i) St. François Xavier. He resuscitates a dead man ; miraculous cures at his burial ; by Lafon. (2) St. François de Sales. He preaches in Savoy ; he gives to Ste. J. F. Chantal the constitution of his order of nuns ; by Hesse. (3) St. Paul. His conversion ; he preaches at Athens ; by DrolIing. (4) St. Vincent de Paul. He founds the hospital for foundlings, with the Sisters of Charity ; he attends the death-bed of Louis XIII. ; by Guillemot. Chapels of the choir : on the left, (i) St. John the Evangelist. His martyrdom ; and his assumption. (2) San Carlo Borromeo. He ministers during the plague at Milan ; he gives the sacrament to his uncle, Pius IV., on his death-bed. (3) Uninteresting. (4) St. Louis the King. He carries a dying man during the plague ; he administers justice under the oak of Vincennes. Lady-chapel, a miracle of ugliness. Statue of the Virgin on clouds in a recess, by Pajon, lighted from above, and in execrable taste, the worst feature in this insipid and often vulgar building. Bad statues and frescoes. The other choir chapels on the right side are dedicated to the older patron saints of Paris. (I) St. Denis. His preaching ; his condemnation. (2) St. Martin. He divides his cloak with the beggar; he resuscitates a dead man. (3) Ste. Geneviève. She brings food from Troyes during the siege of Paris ; miracles wrought by her relics. (4) Our Lady. Her birth ; her presentation in the temple : interesting as modern examples of the treatment of these traditional subjects. Over the door, north or left side, her death ; south, or right side, her assumption.
St. Sulpice has a reputation for good music.
The Fontaine St. Sulpice, in front of the church, is from Visconti’s designs, and has appropriate statues of the four great French preachers, Bossuet, Fénélon, Massillon, and Fléchier. The pulpit here is still famous for its oratory.
From St. Sulpice, the Rue Férou, to the right of the façade, leads you straight to the Luxembourg Palace. The long low building almost directly opposite you as you emerge is the ** Musée du Luxembourg, containing the works of modern French painters. This, of course, is one of the most important objects to be visited in Paris ; but I do not give any detailed account of it here, because the pictures themselves are entirely modern, and chiefly by living painters and sculptors, the various examples being sent to the Louvre, or to provincial museums, within ten years of the death of the artist. A visit to this museum is therefore indispensable to those who desire to form a just acquaintance with contemporary art. But nothing in the gallery demands historical elucidation. The visitor should provide himself with the official catalogue, which will amply suffice for his needs in this gallery. I need hardly say that a proper inspection of it cannot be combined in one day with the other objects mentioned in this excursion. Devote to it at least one or two separate mornings.
Turning to the left as we leave the end of the Rue Férou, the first building on our right is the official residence of the President of the Senate ; the second is Marie de Médicis’s Palace of the Luxembourg, now employed as the seat of the Senate. Walk along its façade, the work of Jacques Debrosse, one of the ablest architects of the later classicising Renaissance, in order to observe the modified style of the age of Henri IV. and Louis XIII., which it still on the whole preserves, in spite of modern additions and alterations. Note the gradual falling off from the exquisitely fanciful period of the earlier French Renaissance, which produced the best parts of the Louvre and St. Eustache, and the way this building lets us down gently to the bald classicism of Louis XIV. and Perrault. If you know Florence, observe also the distinct reminiscences of the Pitti Palace. Continue your walk along the whole of the façade, as far as the corner by the Odéon Theatre,the subventioned theatre of the students and the Quartier Latin. Then, turn into the garden, and note the rest of the building, whose façade to-ward this side, though restored under Louis Philippe, more nearly represents Debrosse’s architecture than does that toward the main thoroughfare. You need not trouble about the interior, though it contains a few good modern paintings.
The garden, however, is well worth a visit on its own account, both for the sake of the typical manner in which it is laid out, and especially for the handsome Fontaine de Médicis by Debrosse, on the side next the Panthéon. The group of sculpture in the middle represents Polyphemus surprising Acis and Galatea. Go round to the back, to see the modern Fountain of Leda, that favourite subject of Renaissance sculpture. The best way back from this excursion is by the Rue de Seine, which leads you past the Marché St. Germain.
Another building in this district, to which, if possible, the reader should pay at least one visit, is the École des Beaux-Arts in the Rue Bonaparte. This collection is interesting, both because it contains a number of valuable fragments of French Renaissance work, especially architectural, and also because of its museum of copies, including transcripts (mostly very good) of the best pictures of various ages, many of which are useful to the student of art history for comparison with originals in the Louvre and elsewhere. Everybody who has not been to Rome, Venice, and Florence should certainly try to visit this museum ; and even those who have made first-hand acquaintance with the masterpieces of Italian art in their native homes will find that it sometimes affords them opportunities for comparison of works widely scattered in the originals, which can be better understood here in certain of their aspects than in isolation. The building is open to the public, free, from twelve to four on Sundays ; on week-days, non-students are also admitted from ten to four (except Mondays), on application to the concierge. I strongly advise a Sunday visit, however, as you are then less hurried, and also as the door on the Quai Malaquais is open on that day. This building should, if possible, be made the object of a separate excursion. It takes a long time to inspect it thoroughly.
Pass through the Tuileries Gardens, or across the Place du Carrousel, and traverse the river by the Pont Royal or the Pont du Carrousel. The second turn to the right after the last-named bridge, the Rue Bonaparte, will take you straight to the door of the École. The building occupies the site of the old Cou-vent des Petits-Augustins the convent chapel and a few other remains of the original works are embedded in it. Enter the court-yard. Here, during the great Revolution, the painter Alexandre Lenoir founded his Musée des Monuments for the accommodation of the tombs removed from St. Denis and other churches. To his indefatigable exertions almost alone we owe the preservation of these price-less mediæval and Renaissance relics. Under the Restoration, most of the monuments were replaced in their original positions, and we shall visit several of them later at St. Denis. To the right of the entrance in this first court is the beautiful doorway of the Château d’Anet, that gem of early French Renaissance architecture, which was erected for Diane de Poitiers by Philibert Delorme and Jean Goujon, by order of Henri II., in 1548: many objects from the same building we have already seen elsewhere. The portal is now placed as the entrance to the old Abbey Chapel. The end of this court is formed by part of the façade from the Château de Gaillon, erected for the Cardinal d’Amboise, Minister of Louis XII., and one of the favourite residences of François Ier. It presents mixed Renaissance and Gothic features, as did the sculpture of Michel Colombe from the same building, which we saw at the Louvre. Both these imposing works the portal of Château d’Anet and this façade should be compared with the Italian Renaissance doorway from Cremona and the Gothic one from Valencia, which we saw in the collection of sculpture at the Louvre. They are indispensable to a full comprehension of the French Renaissance. The Château de Gaillon was destroyed during the Revolution, and many of its finest monuments are now at the Louvre. If you have time, after seeing this museum, go back and compare them.
The second court, beyond the façade, contains several fragments of buildings and sculpture, among which notice the capitals from the old church of Ste. Geneviève (Romanesque), and a fine stone basin of the twelfth century, brought from St. Denis.
Now, return to the first court, and visit the former chapel. It contains plaster casts, adequately described for casual visitors by the labels, as well as copies of paintings. These plaster casts, especially those of the pulpit from Pisa, by Nicolô Pisano, the first medieval sculptor who tried to imitate the antique, will enable you to piece out your conception of Italian Renaissance sculpture, as formed at the Louvre. Do not despise these casts : they are excellent for comparison. Among the pictures, notice the copy of Mantegna’s fresco of St. James conducted to Martyrdom, from the church of the Eremitani at Padua. The fresco itself is a work of Mantegna’s first period, and I select this copy for notice because it will help you to fill in the idea you formed of that great painter from consideration of his originals at the Louvre. Notice, for example, the strenuous efforts at perspective and foreshortening ; the introduction of decorated Renaissance architecture; the love of reliefs and ornament ; the classical armour ; and many other features which display the native bent of Mantegna, but not as yet in the maturity of his powers. Observe, again, the copy of Ghirlandajo’s exquisite Adoration of the Magi, with its numerous portraits, disguised as the three kings, the shepherds, and the spectators, to which I have already called attention when speaking of Luini’s treatment of this subject in the Louvre. I do not enlarge upon these mere copies, as the originals will occupy you at Florence or Munich ; but the student who has become interested in the evolution of art will find it a most valuable study to trace the connection, first, between these subjects and others like them in the Louvre, and, second, between these copies of works by various masters and the originals by the same artists preserved in that collection. Compare, and compare, and compare again ceaselessly.
The inner court, the Cour du Mûrier, leads to another hall, the Salle de Melpomène, entered on Sundays direct from the Quai Malaquais. This room also contains a large number of copies which are valuable for study to those who have not seen the originals, and which will often recall forgotten facts in new connections to those who have seen them. I would call special attention, from the point of view of this book, to the good copies of Raphael’s and Perugino’s Marriage of the Virgin ; as the originals are respectively at Milan and Caen (two places sufficiently remote from one another), the composition of the two can be better compared here than under any other circumstances. As examples of development, I shall notice them briefly. Perugino’s is, of course, the older work. It was painted for a chapel in the cathedral at Perugia, where it still hung when Raphael painted his imitation of it. First look carefully at both works, and then read these remarks upon them. The Sposalizio or Marriage of the Virgin, one of the set subjects in the old series of the Life of Mary, and often used as an altar-piece, consists traditionally of the following features. In the centre stands the high priest, wearing his robes and ephod or what the particular painter takes for such; he joins the hands of Joseph and the Madonna. Joseph stands always on the left side of the picture, which Perugino has rightly assigned to him ; though Raphael, already revolutionary, has reversed this order. He holds in his hand a staff, which has budded into lily flowers, the tradition (embodied in the Protevangelion) being that the high priest caused the various suitors for Mary’s hand to place their staffs in the Holy of Holies, as had long before been done in the case of Aaron, intending that he whose staff budded should become the husband of the Holy Virgin. Joseph’s put forth leaves and flowers ; and so this staff, either flowering or otherwise, is the usual symbol by which you can recognise him in sacred art. Behind Joseph stand the other disappointed suitors, one or more of whom always breaks his staff in indignation. Behind Mary stand the attendant maidensthe Virgins of the Lordtogether with Our Lady’s mother, St. Anne, recognisable by her peculiar head-dress and wimple. (Compare Lionardo in the Salon Carré.) A temple always occupies the background. Perugino took the main elements of this scene from earlier painters. You will find numerous ex-amples in the churches and galleries at Florence and elsewhere, but he transformed it in accordance with his peculiar genius and his views of art, substituting a round or octagonal temple of Renaissance architecture for the square Gothic building of earlier painters. Such round buildings were the conventional representation of the Temple at Jerusalem among Renaissance artists. The peculiar head-dress and the balanced position are also characteristic of Perugino. How closely Raphael followed his master on these points of composition you can see for yourself by comparing the two copies. But you can also see how thoroughly he transformed Perugino’s spirit ; retaining the form while altering the whole sentiment and feeling of the figures. You see in it Perugino’s conception, but Raphael’s treat-ment. I have called special attention to these two pictures because they admirably illustrate the value and importance of comparison in art. You cannot wholly understand the Raphael without having seen the Perugino; nor can you wholly understand the Perugino without having seen the Ghirlandajos and Fra Angelicos, and Taddeo Gaddis which preceded it. Go from one to the other of these two pictures, and note the close resemblance even in the marble pavement, the grouping of each component cluster, and the accessories in the back-ground. Nay, the more graceful attitude of the suitor who breaks his staff in the Raphael is borrowed from a minor figure in the back-ground of the Perugino. It is only by thus comparing work with work that we can arrive at a full comprehension of early painting, and especially of the relations between painter and painter.
I will not call special attention to the various other copies in this museum. I will merely point out, as casting light on subjects we have already considered, Verocchio’s Baptism of Christ, Perugino’s group from the same subject, Raphael’s Entombment, Botticelli’s Adoration of the Magi, and Madonnas by Filippo Lippi, Giovanni Bellini, Correggio, and Mantegna.
Many of these can be compared here and nowhere else. For those who are making a long stay in Paris, a judicious use of this collection, in conjunction with the Louvre, will cast unexpected light in many cases on works in that gallery which it has been impossible here to describe in full detail.
The amphitheatre, approached from the second court, contains in its vestibule a number of plaster casts, also valuable for purposes of comparison. The transitional archaic period of Greek sculpture, for instance, ill represented at the Louvre, is here well exemplified by casts from the statues in the pediment of the Temple of Athene at AEgina, now in the Pinakothek at Munich. Compare these with the reliefs from Thasos in the Salle de Phidias. Similarly, casts of the Children of Niobe, belonging to the same school as the Venus of Milo, are useful for comparison with that famous statue. The amphitheatre itself, behind the vestibule, contains Paul Delaroche’s famous Hémicycle, one of that great painter’s most celebrated works. Do not think, because I do not specify, that the other objects in this museum are unworthy of notice. Observe them for yourself, and return afterward to the Louvre time after time, comparing the types you have seen here with originals of the same artists and variants of the same subject in that collection.