Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/107

This page needs to be proofread.


o* s. XL JAF. si, 1903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


99


literature concerning him multiplies and aug- ments with the progress of the years. Lord Wolseley, who is, of course, upholding his own profession, has said during the present year that he regards Napoleon as " the greatest human being God ever sent to this earth of ours." Be our indi- vidual estimate of Napoleon what it may, there can be no question as to the general interest in his doings, and the literature concerning him augments instead of diminishing. The work of M. Dayot is unique in its class. For the task of showing the emperor in his habit as he lived the materials are superabundant. Thousands of designs of every kind are found in the national collections, the whole of which, under the charge of their re- spective archivists, have been placed at the disposal of M. Dayot, while private collections, including those of the various members of the family (ex- imperial and other), must nearly double the number. No human being has, indeed, left behind him an equal number of portraits, designs, reproductions, &c. For the purpose of our author, moreover, the gross ' 'personiti cation " of a work of mechanical industry, or even the quaint designs of an Oriental caricaturist, are scarcely less valuable than the pictures of the greatest artist. Authoritative presentations of Napoleon in his early days are naturally few, no portrait from life of the young Corsican child being known, and it was not until after the second campaign of Italy that Gros assigned definitely to the young warrior the physiognomy subsequently maintained. Childish portraits, all more or less imaginary, were subsequently multi- plied. In these he is shown adopting as a child the attitudes and gestures subsequently familiar. The most interesting, though only on account of the manner in which it catches the spirit of the engravings of the eighteenth century, shows the future emperor at the age of six repeating his lesson to his mother, who is seated in a glade of a considerable park. A work of high interest is an early portrait by Greuze. This has not, of course, the slightest historical value, and is whimsically sentimentalized, the features being, in M. Dayot's opinion, like those of " la jeune h'lleĀ ;\ la cruche cassee." With this effeminate head it is well to compare that exhibited in the portrait by Guerin, with its hollow cheeks and prominent cheekbones, and the look, "piercing as a sword," which Taine describes. Italian portraits of the time of Marengo are scarcely to be recognized by the side of the French. A lithograph of Raffet, dated 1796, shows Napoleon for the first time in an attitude in which subsequently he was often depicted. Attention must necessarily be arrested by Gerome's design 'CEdipe,' showing Napoleon alone in presence of the Sphinx. A fair quantity of the designs of the consular period are in the shape of medallions, though a striking profile in crayon which is repro- duced is attributed to Ingres. A portrait by the same painter from the Musee de Liege approaches much more nearly the conventional type. Some disgraceful caricatures by Gillray follow. One on p. 69 seems inspired by the spirit of the "Terror." A portrait by Greuze of the First Consul is less lackadaisical, but also less interesting, than the earlier work of the same master. In his numerous conversations with David Napoleon uttered a wish, frequently realized thenceforward, to be painted, calm himself, on a fiery horse. After the accession to empire the painting 'A Portrait of Napoleon,' by Meissonier, is a fine piece of work, but has, of


course, no authority. To this period belongs the statue which surmounted the column of the Place Vendome. An English engraving by Wright is a wonderful specimen of unintentional caricature. Dramatic, but rather conventional, is the picture by Gros of the meeting between Napoleon and Francis II. Canova's great statue was executed during his second visit to Paris. The absence in Russia gave a respite to designs of interest. With the Cent Jours came a recrudescence. Many of the pictures at St. Helena will be new to the majority of English readers. The caricatures of this, as of previous epochs, are of revolting brutality and vulgarity. A separate chapter is devoted to the handwriting of Napoleon. Various appendixes add to the interest of the volume. The work is admirably done, and is bound to find a place in every Napoleon collection.

Lives and Legends of the Great Hermits and Fathers of the Church, with other Contemporary Saints. By Mrs. Arthur Bell. (Bell & Sons.) MOKE rapidly than was to be expeated has the second volume of Mrs. Arthur Bell's lives of the saints followed the first, for a notice of which see 9 th S. ix. 339. The second volume carries the record from the third to the seventh century, including, accordingly, the great persecution of the fourth century, which did more to swell the ranks of canonized martyrs than any other period in history. Keen enough were the sufferings inflicted upon the immediate successors of the apostles and the earliest disseminators of Christian faith. The general atti- tude of the pagan world of that portion of it especially which treated its own ceremonial with a formal acquiescence, into which entered scarcely an element of belief was often tolerant, and some- times admiring or even approving. In later days the contest between the votaries of the ancient creed and those of the new developed into a struggle for life and death.

A third volume, which is in preparation, will deal with the English bishops and kings, the medi- eval monks, and other later saints, and will, pre- sumably, conclude an interesting and important series. It is not only in the beauty and tasteful- ness of the get-up that the volume resembles its predecessor. Method and treatment are the same, as is the order of arrangement, and the sources of the illustrations are, in the main, identical. Mrs. Bell carries out her investigations with the same zeal and discretion she has hitherto observed, and with the reserve indispensable in a work of this class, the mere inception of which is surrounded with dangers. While the stories as accepted in the best-known hagiologies are retold, the results of the latest school of investigators are included in her pages, and the newest light that has been cast upon Christian symbolism illuminates her records. The illustrations, moreover, retain their old charm. Donatello's ' St. George,' a statue in the Museo Nazionale, Florence, serves as an appropriate frontispiece. To Alinari, of Florence, many admir- able reproductions are due. From the Accademia in the same city come the twin portraits by Fra Filippo Lippi of St. Antony the Great and St. John the Baptist. Following designs are by Sodoma, Andrea Mantegna, Andrea del Sarto, Bernardino Luini, Botticelli, Sebastiano del Piombo, Paolo Veronese, Raphael, Perugino almost all the greatest Italian painters of sacred subjects, together with a few designs- of Northern provenance two