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his mistakes. Mr. Fuseli finely observes,
He has been called the Herodotus of our art; and if the main simplicity of his narrative, and the desire of heaping anecdote on anecdote, entitle him in some degree to that appellation, we ought not to forget that the information of every day adds something to the authenticity of the Greek historian, whilst every day furnishes matter to question the credibility of the Tuscan.” All this strongly confirms the suspicion that Vasari employed different hands at different times to write out his work. Such mistakes would occur to a new writer, not always conversant with the subject he was composing on, and the disjointed materials of which were often found in a disordered state. It is, however, strange that neither Bottari nor Tiraboschi appear to have been aware that Vasari employed others to write for him; we see that from the first suggestion of the work he had originally proposed that Paulus Jovius should hold the pen for him.
The principle illustrated in this article might be pursued; but the secret history of two great works so well known are as sufficient as twenty others of writings less celebrated. The literary phenomenon which had puzzled the calm inquiring Hume to cry out “a miracle!” has been solved by the discovery of a little fact on LITE. RARY UNIONS, which derives importance from this circumstance.
OF A BIOGRAPHY PAINTED.
There are objects connected with literary curiosity, which, though they may never gratify our sight, yet whose very history is literary; and the originality of their invention, should they excite imitation, may serve to constitute a class. I notice a book-curiosity of this nature.
This extraordinary volume may be said to have contained the travels and adventures of Charles Magius, a noble Venetian; and this volume, so precious, consisted only of eighteen pages, composed of a series of highly-finished miniature paintings on vellum, some executed by the hand of Paul Veronese. Each page, however, may be said to contain many chapters; for, generally, it is composed of a large centre-piece, surrounded by ten small ones, with many apt inscriptions, allegories, and allusions; the whole exhibiting romantic incidents in the life of this Venetian nobleman. But it is not merely as a beautiful production of art that we are to consider it; it becomes associated with a more elevated feeling in the occasion which produced it. The author,
who is himself the hero, after having been long calumniated, resolved to set before the eyes of his accusers the sufferings and adventures he could perhaps have but indifferently described : and instead of composing a tedious volume for his justification, invented this new species of pictorial biography. The author minutely described the remarkable situations in which fortune had placed him; and the artists, in embellishing the facts he furnished them with to record, emulated each other in giving life to their truth, and putting into action, before the spectator, incidents which the pen had less impressively exhibited. This unique production may be considered as a model, to represent the actions of those who may succeed more fortunately by this new mode of perpetuating their history; discovering, by the aid of the pencil, rather than by their pen, the forms and colours of an extraordinary life.
It was when the Ottomans (about 1571) attacked the Isle of Cyprus, that this Venetian nobleman was charged by his republic to review and repair the fortifications. He was afterwards sent to the Pope to negotiate an alliance: he
returned to the senate, to give an account of his commission. Invested with the chief command, at the head of his troops, Magius threw himself into the island of Cyprus, and after a skilful defence, which could not prevent its fall, at Famagusta, he was taken prisoner by the Turks, and made a slave. His age and infirmities induced his master, at length, to sell him to some Christian merchants; and after an absence of several years from his beloved Venice, he suddenly appeared, to the astonishment and mortification of a party who had never ceased to calumniate him ; while his own noble family were compelled to preserve an indignant silence, having had no communications with their lost and enslaved relative. Magius now returned to vindicate his honour, to reinstate himself in the favour of the senate, and to be restored to a venerable parent amidst his family; to whom he introduced a fresh branch, in a youth of seven years old, the child of his misfortunes, who, born in trouble, and a stranger to domestic endearments, was at one moment united to a beloved circle of relations.
I shall give a rapid view of some of the pic