Page:Romain Rolland Handel.djvu/65

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HIS LIFE

57

work. The rôle played by Steffani in music can very well be compared with that of Fra Bartolommeo in painting;—both applied themselves with perfect art, and steadfast spirit, to find the laws of composition in limited and restrained forms: Fra Bartolommeo sought for the balance of groups, and the harmony of lines in scenes, with three or four persons grouped in a round picture; Steffani concentrated all the efforts of his ingenuity, invention, and artistic science into the somewhat limited form of the duet. These two religious artists both have a luminous art; both are sure of themselves, have learning and simplicity, with little or no passion. Their souls are noble, pure, a little impersonal. They were intended to prepare the way for others. As Chrysander says, "Handel walked in the steps of Steffani, but his feet were larger."

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Handel made only a short stay at Hanover in 1710. Hardly had he taken up his duties when he asked and obtained leave to go to England, from whence proposals had been made to him. He crossed