John Ruskin.

The stones of Venice online

. (page 34 of 34)
Online LibraryJohn RuskinThe stones of Venice → online text (page 34 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

which only has the form of a demon, and he is in the back-
ground, engaged in no more terrific act of violence toward
St. Anthony, than endeavoring to pull off his mantle ; he
has, however, a scoiu-ge over his shoulder, but this is prob-
ably intended for St. Anthony's weajDon of self-discipline,
which the fiend, with a very Protestant turn of mind, is car-
rying off. A broken staff, with a bell hanging to it, at the
saint's feet, also expresses his interrupted devotiou. The
three other figures beside him are bent on more cunning
mischief : the woman on the left is one of Tintoret's best
portraits of a young and bright-eyed Venetian beauty. It
is curious that he has given so attractive a countenance to a
type apparently of the temptation to violate the power of
poverty, for this woman places one hand in a vase full of
coins, and shakes golden chains with the other. On the op-
posite side of the saint, another woman, admirably painted,
but of a far less attractive countenance, is a type of the lusts
of the flesh, yet there is nothing gross or immodest in her
dress or gestui-e^ She appears to have been baffled, and for


the present to have given up addressing the saint : she lays
one hand upon her breast, and might be taken for a veiy
respectable j^erson, but that there ai'e flames playing about
her loins. A recumbent figure on the ground is of less in-
telligible character, but may perhaps be meant for Indo-
lence ; at all events, he has torn the saint's book to pieces.
I forgot to note, that under the figure representing Avarice,
there is a creature like a pig ; "uhether actual pig or not is
unascertainable, for the church is dark, the httle hght that
comes on the picture falls on it the wi'ong "way, and one
thii'd of the lower part of it is hidden by a white case, con-
taining a modem daub, lately painted by way of an altar
piece ; the meaning, as well as the merit, of the grand old
picture being now far beyond the comprehension both of
priests and people.

2. The Last Suj^j^er. (On the left-hand side of the Chapel
of the Sacrament.) A picture which has been through the
hands of the Academy, and is therefore now hardly worth
notice. Its conception seems always to have been vulgar,
and far below Tintoret's usual standard ; there is singular
baseness in the circumstance, that one of the near Apostles,
while all the others are, as usual, intent upon Ckrist's words,
"One of you shall betray me," is going to help himself to
wine out of a bottle which stands behind him. In so doing
he stoops towards the table, the flask being on the floor. If
intended for the action of Judas at this moment, there is
the painter's usual originality in the thought ; but it seems
to me rather done to obtain variation of posture, in bringing
the red dress into strong contrast with the tablecloth. The
color has once been fine, and there are fragments of good
painting still left ; but the light does not ];^ermit these to be
seen, and there is too much perfect work of the master's in
Venice, to permit us to spend time on retouched remnants.
The picture is only worth mentioning, because it is igno-
rantly and ridicidously referred to by Kugleras chai'acteristic
of Tin tore t.


ViTALi, Church of St. Said to contain a picture by Vittor
Carpaccio, over the high altar: otherwise of no importance.

VoLTO Santo, Chuech of the. An interesting but desecrr.tcd
ruin of the fourteenth century ; fine in style. Its roof retains
some fresco coloring, but, as far as I recollect, of later date
than the architecture.


Z'ACCAKL\, CnrRCH OF St. Early Renaissance, and fine of its
kind ; a Gothic chapel attached to it is of great beauty. It
contains the best John Bellini in Venice, after that of San
G. Grisostomo, " The Virgin, with Four Saints ; " and is said
to contain another John Bellini and a Tintoret, neither of
which I have seen.

ZiTELLE, Church of the. Of no importance.

ZoBENiGo, Church of Santa Maria, ILL 125. It contains one
valuable Tintoret, namely :

Christ xoith Sta. Justina and St. Augustin. (Over the third
altar on the south side of the nave.) A pictiu-e of small size,
and upright, about ten feet by eight. Christ appears to be
descending out of the clouds between the two saints, who
are both kneeling on the sea shore. It is a Venetian sea,
breaking on a flat beach, like tlie Lido, with a scarlet galley
in the middle distance, of which the chief use is to unite the
two figures by a point of color. Both the saints are respecta-
ble Venetians of the lower class, in homely dresses and with
homely faces. The whole picture is quietly painted, and
somewhat shghtly ; free from all extravagance, and display-
ing Httle power except in the general truth or harmony of
colors so easily laid on. It is better preserved than usual,
and worth dwelling upon as an instance of the style of the
master when at rest.


K. C State CtUm



Online LibraryJohn RuskinThe stones of Venice → online text (page 34 of 34)