In short, that convent was one of the most beautiful and best appointed that there were in the State of Florence; and it is for this reason that I have wished to make this record of it, and the rather as the greater part of the pictures that were therein were by the hand of our Pietro Perugino.
Had one of those glorious young gallants, Baglioni or Oddi, clothed in scarlet, winged, helmeted, sword on thigh, as Perugino has painted them on the walls of the Sala del Cambio very strangest union of sensuous worldliness and radiant arch-angelic grace had one of these magnificent gentlemen ruffled into the hotel parlour, he could hardly have startled the eyes, and perplexed the understanding, of the virtuous and learned Anglo-Saxon and Transatlantic feminine beings there assembled, more than did Madame de Vallorbes.
At that time, Italian schools were less wonderful in colouring than in other matters of technique. "Let him become my pupil," said Perugino, when Raphael was brought to him and some of his work was exhibited; "soon he will be my master." A very different attitude from that of Ghirlandajo toward Michael Angelo. Raphael and his master became friends and worked together for nine years.
The two pass-words for a would-be connoisseur, according to Goldsmith, were to praise Perugino, and to say that such and such a work would have been much better had the painter devoted more time and study to it. With these alternatives at hand one might pass with credit through any famous continental collection.
His step-mother, the uncles who were his guardians, his clever, perverse, unscrupulous master, all joined in a common love of Raphael and determination to promote his interests. Raphael at the age of twelve years went to Perugia to work under Perugino, and remained with his master till he was nearly twenty years of age.
Perugino had allowed her a glimpse at his easel, on which she discerned what seemed a woman's face, but so divine, by the very depth and softness of its womanhood, that a gush of happy tears blinded the maiden's eyes before she had time to look.
RAPHAEL, when he first drew his meagre forms under Perugino, had not yet conceived one line of that ideal beauty which one day he of all men could alone execute. Who could have imagined, in examining the Dream of Raphael, that the same pencil could hereafter have poured out the miraculous Transfiguration?
Giovanni Bellini, Carpaccio and Mantegna were succeeded by Titian, Giorgione, and Tintoretto; Perugino was succeeded by Raphael.
Notwithstanding Murillo's obvious faults, as you walk through the museum at Seville all Andalusia appears before you. Nothing could be more characteristic than the religious feeling of the many pictures, than the exuberant fancy and utter lack of idealisation: in the contrast between a Holy Family by Murillo and one by Perugino is all the difference between Spain and Italy.
It may be broad as day, cut clean as with a knife, displayed at large before a brawling world too busy lapping or grudging to heed it. The many shall pass it by as they run huddling to the dark. "'The few remain, the many change and pass," I interpolated in a murmur. But Perugino never heeded me. He went on. "The Greek, young sir, took the fact and let it alone to breed.
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