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BCSB LIBRARY





Ex Voto



Re-issue of the Works of the late
Samuel Butler

Author of " Erewhon," " The Way of All Fleth," etc.

MR. FiritLD hat pleasure in announcing he has taken over the publication
of the entire works (with the exception of " Unconscious Memory," which it
still out of print) of the late SAMUEL BUTLER, novelist, philosopher, scientist,
satirist and classicist ; "in his own department," says Mr. Bernard Shaw, "the
greatest English writer of the latter half of the I9th century." "The Way
of All Flesh" and "Erewhon" which have been out of print for some time
are now reprinted, and all the other works with one exception are now offered
at more popular price*.

The Way of All Flesh. A Novel. New Edition. 6s.

God the Known and God the Unknown. is. 6d. nett.

Erewhon. i ith, Revised Edition. 4th Impression. 2s. 6d. nett.
Erewhon Revisited. 3rd Impression, 340 pages. 25. 6d. nett.
Essays on Life, Art and Science. 340 pages. 25. 6d. nett.

(A few copies of the original edition, gilt top, 6s.)
The Alps and Sanctuaries of Piedmont and the

Canton Ticino. Profusely illustrated by Charles

Gogin, H. F. Jones and the Author. Pott 410,

cloth gilt.
The Fair Haven.

Life and Habit. An essay after a completer view

of Evolution. 2nd edition.
Evolution, Old and New. A comparison of the

theories of Button, Erasmus Darwin and Lamarck,

with that of Charles Darwin.

Luck, or Cunning ? As the main means of organic
modification.

The Authoress of the Odyssey, who and what

she was, when and where she wrote, etc.
The Iliad of Homer, rendered into English prose.
The Odyssey, rendered into English prose.
Shakespeare's Sonnets, with notes and original text.
Ex Voto. An account of the Sacro Monte or New

Jerusalem at Varallo-Sesia.
Selections from Butler's Works.



I os. 6d.
53. nett.

53. nett.

53. nett.
55. nett.

5s. nett.
53. nett.
5s. nett.
53. nett.



55. nett.
5s. nett.



London : A. C. Fifield, 44 Fleet Street, E.G.




/'roiilisfiere.



"IL VECCHIETTO. 1
By Tabachclti.



Ex Voto :

An Account of The Sacro Monte
or New Jerusalem at Varallo Sesia

With some notice of Tabachetti's

Remaining Work at the Sanctuary

of Crea

By

Samuel Butler

Author of
"Lite and Habit," "Luck, or Cunning?" " Erewhon," etc.



"II n'y a que deux ennemis de la religion le trop ptu, et le trop ; et
des deux le trop est mille fois le plus dangereux." U Abbe Mabillon, 1698.



OP. 9

New and Cheaper Issue



London: A. C. Fifield

All rights reser-vcd



AI VARALLESI E VALSESIANI

L'AUTORE
RICONOSCEXTE.



PREFACE.



THE illustrations to this book are mainly collo-
type photographs by Messrs. Maclure, Mac-
donald & Co., of Glasgow. Notwithstanding
all their care, it cannot be pretended that the
result is equal to what would have been
obtained from photogravure ; I found, how-
ever, that to give anything like an adequate
number of photogravures would have made the
book so expensive that I was reluctantly com-
pelled to abandon the idea.

As these sheets leave my hands, my atten-
tion is called to a pleasant article by Miss
Alice Greene about Varallo, that appeared in
The Queen for Saturday, April 21, 1888. The
article is very nicely illustrated, and gives a
good idea of the place. Of the Sacro Monte
Miss Greene says : " On the Sacro Monte
the tableaux are produced in perpetuity, only
the figures are not living, they are terra-cotta



viii PREFACE.

statues painted and moulded in so life-like a
way that you feel that, were a man of flesh and
blood to get mixed up with the crowd behind
the grating, you would have hard work to
distinsuish him from the figures that have

o o

never had life."

I should wish to modify in some respects
the conclusion arrived at on pp. 148, 149, about
Michael Angelo Rossetti's having been the
principal sculptor of the Massacre of the
Innocents chapel. There can be no doubt
that Rossetti did the figure which he has
signed, and several others in the chapel.
One of those which are probably by him (the
soldier with outstretched arm to the left of the
composition) appears in the view of the chapel
that I have given to face page 144, but on con-
sideration I incline against the supposition of
my text, i.e., that the signature should be taken
as governing the whole work, or at any rate
the greater part of it, and lean towards accept-
ing the external authority, which, quantum
valeat, is all in favour of Paracca. I have
changed my mind through an increasing
inability to resist the opinion of those who
hold that the figures fall into two main groups,



PREFACE. ix

one by the man who did the signed figure,
i.e., Michael Angelo Rossetti ; and another,
comprising all the most vigorous, interesting,
and best placed figures, that certainly appears
to be by a much more powerful hand.
Probably, then, Rossetti finished Paracca's
work and signed one figure as he did, without
any idea of claiming the whole, and believing
that Paracca's predominant share was too well
known to make mistake about the authorship
of the work possible. I have therefore in
the title to the illustration given the work to
Paracca, but it must be admitted that the
question is one of great difficulty, and I can
only hope that some other work of Paracca's
may be found which will tend to settle it. I
will thankfully receive information about any
other such work.

May i, 1888.



CONTENTS.



CHAP. PAGE

I. INTRODUCTION . i

II. THE REV. S. W. KING LANZI AND LOMAZZO . . 10

III. VARALLO, PAST AND PRESENT 24

IV. BERNARDINO CAIMI, AND FASSOLA .... 38
V. EARLY HISTORY OF THE SACRO MONTE ... 49

VI. PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS 69

VII. AIM AND SCOPE OF THE SACRO MONTE ... 80

VIII. GAUDENZIO FERRARI, TABACHETTI, AND GIOVANNI

D'ENRICO 90

IX. THE ASCENT OF THE SACRO MONTE, AND CHAPEL
No. i, ADAM AND EVE ; No. 2, ANNUNCIATION j
No. 3, SALUTATION OF MARY BY ELIZABETH;
No. 4, FIRST VISION OF ST. JOSEPH . . .114

X. CHAPEL No. 5, VISIT OF THE MAGI; No. 6, IL
PRESEPIO ; No. 7, VISIT OF THE SHEPHERDS ;
No. 8, CIRCUMCISION ; No. 9, JOSEPH WARNED TO
FLY; No. 10, FLIGHT INTO EGYPT; No. n, MAS-
SACRE OF THE INNOCENTS 132

XI. CHAPEL No. 12, BAPTISM ; No. 13, TEMPTATION ;
No. 14, WOMAN OF SAMARIA; No. 15, THE PARA-
LYTIC ; No. 16, WIDOW'S SON AT NAIN ; No. 17,
TRANSFIGURATION ; No. 18, RAISING OF LAZARUS ;



xii CONTENTS.



PAGE



No. 19, ENTRY INTO JERUSALEM ; No. 20, LAST
SUPPER ; No. 21, AGONY IN THE GARDEN ; No. 22,
SLEEPING APOSTLES . . . ... . .153

XII. THE PALACE OF PILATE ; CHAPEL No. 23, THE CAP-
TURE OF CHRIST; No. 24, CHRIST TAKEN BEFORE
ANNAS ; No. 25, CHRIST BEFORE CAIAPHAS ; No. 26,
REPENTANCE OF ST. PETER j No. 27, CHRIST BEFORE
PILATE ; No. 28, CHRIST BEFORE HEROD ; No. 29,
CHRIST TAKEN BACK TO PILATE ; No. 30, FLAGEL-
LATION ; No. 31, CROWNING WITH THORNS ; No. 32,
CHRIST AT THE STEPS OF THE PRETORIUM ; No. 33,
ECCE HOMO ; No. 34, PILATE WASHING HIS HANDS ;
No. 35, CHRIST CONDEMNED TO DEATH . .166

XIII. MYSTERIES OF THE PASSION AND DEATH ; CHAPEL

No. 36, THE JOURNEY TO CALVARY ; No. 37, NAIL-
ING OF CHRIST TO THE CROSS ; No. 38, THE
CRUCIFIXION 195

XIV. CHAPEL No. 39, THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS . 214
XV. THE'PIETX AND REMAINING CHAPELS ; CHAPEL No. 40,

THE PIET\; No. 41, THE ENTOMBMENT; REMAIX-
ING CHAPELS AND CHIESA MAGGIORF. . . . 225

XVI. TABACHETTI'S WORK AT CREA 239

XVII. CONCLUSION 259



INDEX



271



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



For explanation of the Asterisk see Advertisement of Photographs at
the end of the book.

" IL VECCHIETTO," FROM THE DESCENT FROM THE CROSS



(CHAPEL No. 39)

PLATE

I. PLAN OF THE SACRO MONTE IN 1671
II. THE OLD ADAM AND EVE ....

III. TABACHETTI'S ADAM AND EVE

IV. FIRST VISION OF ST. JOSEPH

*V. THE MASSACRE OF THE INNOCENTS .
*VI. THE TEMPTATION IN THE WILDERNESS .

VII. CAIAPHAS

VIII. HEROD

IX. Two LAUGHING BOYS

X. MAN IN BACKGROUND OF THE FLAGELLA-
TION CHAPEL

XI. STEFANO SCOTTO, AND MR. S. BUTLER .

*XII. TABACHETTI'S JOURNEY TO CALVARY
GENERAL VIEW TO THE RIGHT.

XIII. TABACHETTI'S JOURNEY TO CALVARY

ST. JOHN AND THE MADONNA WITH THE
OTHER MARIES.

*XIV. TABACHETTI'S JOURNEY TO CALVARY

STA. VERONICA AND MAN WITH GOITRE.

*XV. TABACHETTI'S JOURNEY TO CALVARY

THE Two THIEVES AND THEIR DRIVER.



Frontispiece

to face page 68
121
i, 122
130
144
154
170

,, 176
177

182
189
195

196
I 9 8



xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

PLATE

*XVI. GAUDENZIO FERRARI'S CRUCIFIXION . . to face page 203
GENERAL VIEW LOOKING TOWARDS THE
BAD THIEF.

*XVII. GAUDENZIO FERRARI'S CRUCIFIXION . . 204

GENERAL VIEW LOOKING TOWARDS THE
GOOD THIEF.

XVIII. GAUDENZIO FERRARI'S PORTRAITS OF STE-

FANO SCOTTO AND LEONARDO DA VlNCI 2O6

XIX. BERNARDINO DE CONTI'S DRAWING OF STE-
FANO SCOTTO, AND PROFILE OF LEONARDO
DA VlNCI BY HIMSELF (REVERSED) . 207

*XX. GAUDENZIO FERRARI'S CRUCIFIXION . . 210

THE BAD THIEF.



ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS.



UNABLE to go to Dinant before I published " Ex Voto," I
have since been there, and have found out a good deal
about Tabachetti's family. His real name was de Wes-
pin, and he came of a family who had been copper-beaters,
and hence sculptors for the Flemish copper beaters made
their own models for many generations. The family seems
to have been the most numerous and important in Uinant.
The sculptor's grandfather, Perpete de Wespin, was the
first to take the sobriquet of Tabaguet, and though in the
deeds which I have seen at Namur the name is always
given as " de Wespin," yet the addition of " dit Tabaguet "
shows that this last was the name in current use. His
father and mother, and a sister Jacquelinne, under age,
appear to have all died in 1587. Jean de Wespin, the
sculptor, is mentioned in a deed of that date as " expatrie,"
and he has a " gardien " or " tuteur," who is to take charge
of his inheritance, appointed by the Court, as though he
were for some reason unable to appoint one for himself.
This lends colour to Fassola's and Torrotti's statement that
he lost his reason about 1586 or 1587. I think it more
likely, however, considering that he was alive and doing
admirable work some fifty years after 1590, that he was the
victim of some intrigue than that he was ever really mad.
At any rate, about 1587 he appears to have been unable to
act for himself.

If his sister Jacquelinne died under age in 1587, Jean
is not likely to have been then much more than thirty,
so we may conclude that he was born about 1560. There
is some six or eight years' work by him remaining at Varallo,
and described as finished in the 1586 edition of Caccia.
Tabachetti, therefore, must have left home very young, and
probably went straight to Varallo. In 1586 or 1587 we
lose sight of him till 1590 or 1591, when he went to Crea,



ii EX VOTO.

where he did about forty chapels almost all of which have
perished.

On again visiting Milan I found in the Biblioteca
Nazionale a guide-book to the Sacro Monte, which was not
in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, and of whose existence I had
never heard. This guide-book was published in 1606 and
reissued in 1610; it mentions all changes since 1590, and
even describes chapels not yet in existence, but it says
nothing about Tabachetti's First Vision of St. Joseph chapel
the only one of his chapels not given as completed in
the 1590 edition of Caccia. I had assumed too hastily that
this chapel was done just after the 1590 edition of Caccia
had been published, and just before Tabachetti left for Crea
in 1590 or 1591, whereas it now appears that it was done
about 1 6 10, during a short visit paid by the sculptor to
Varallo some twenty years after he had left it.

Finding that Tabachetti returned to Varallo about 1610,
I was able to understand two or three figures in the Ecce
Homo chapel which I had long thought must be by Taba-
chetti, but had not ventured to ascribe to him, inasmuch as
I believed him to have finally left Varallo some twenty
years before the Ecce Homo chapel was made. I have now
no doubt that he lent a hand to Giovanni D'Enrico with
this chapel, in which he has happily left us h'is portrait
signed with a V (doubtless standing for W, a letter which
the Italians have not got), cut on the hat before baking,
and invisible from outside the chapel.

Signer Arienta had told me there was a seal on the back
of a figure in the Journey to Calvary chapel ; on examining
this I found it to show a W, with some kind of armorial
bearings underneath. I have not been able
\\. to find anything like these arms, of which I
give a sketch herewith : they have no affinity
with those of the de Wespin family, unless
the cups with crosses under them are taken
as modifications of the three-footed caldrons
which were never absent from the arms of
Dinant copper-beaters. Tabachetti (for I shall assume that
the seal was placed by him) perhaps sealed this figure as an
afterthought in 1610, being unable to cut easily into the
hard-baked clay, and if he could have Italianised the W he
would probably have done so. I should say that I arrived
at the Ecce Homo figure as a portrait of Tabachetti before I
found the V cut upon the hat ; I found the V on examining




ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS. iii

the portrait to see if I could find any signature. It stands
next to a second portrait of Leonardo da Vinci by Gaudenzio
Ferrari, taken into the Ecce Homo chapel, doubtless, on
the demolition of some earlier work by Gaudenzio on or
near the same site. I knew of this second portrait of
Leonardo da Vinci when I published my first edition, but
did not venture to say anything about it, as thinking that
one life-sized portrait of a Leonardo da Vinci by a Gaudenzio
Ferrari was as much of a find at one time as my readers
would put up with. I had also known of the V on Taba-
chetti's hat, but, having no idea that his 'name was de
Wespin, had not seen why this should help it to be a por-
trait of Tabachetti, and had allowed the fact to escape me.

The figure next to Scotto in the Ecce Homo chapel is,
I do not doubt, a portrait of Giovanni D'Enrico. This
may explain the tradition at Varallo that Scotto is Antonio
D'Enrico, which cannot be. Next to Giovanni D'Enrico
stands the second Leonardo da Vinci, and next to Leonardo,
as I have said, Tabachetti. In the chapel by Gaudenzio,
from which they were taken, the figures of Leonardo and
Scotto probably stood side by side as they still do in
the Crucifixion chapel. I supposed that Tabachetti and
D'Enrico, who must have perfectly well known who they
were, separated them in order to get Giovanni D'Enrico
nearer the grating. It was the presumption that we had
D'Enrico's portrait between Scotto and Leonardo, and the
conviction that Tabachetti also had worked in the chapel,
that led me to examine the very beautiful figure on the
farther side of Leonardo to see if I could find anything to
confirm my suspicion that it was a portrait of Tabachetti
himself.

I do not think there can be much doubt that the Vec-
chietto is also a portrait of Tabachetti done some thirty
years later than 1610, nor yet do I doubt, now I know that
he returned to Varallo in 1610, that the figures of Herod
and of Caiaphas are by him. I believe he also at this
time paid a short visit to Orta, and did three or four
figures in the left hand part of the foreground of the
Canonisation of St. Francis chapel At Montrigone, a mile
or so below Borgo-Sesia station, I believe him to have done
at least two or three figures, which are very much in his
manner, and not at all like either Giacomo Ferro or Giovanni
D'Enrico, to whom they are usually assigned. These figures
are some twenty or twenty-five years fater than 1610, and



IV



EX VOTO.



tend to show that Tabachetti, as an old man of over seventy,
paid a third visit to the Val-Sesia.

The substance of the foregoing paragraphs is published at
greater length, and with illustrations, in the number of the
Universal Review for November 1888, and to which I must
refer my readers. I have, however, here given the pith
of all that I have yet been able to find out about Tabachetti
since " Ex Voto " was published. I should like to add the
following in regard to other chapels.

Signer Arienta has found a 1523 scrawled on the frescoes
of the Crucifixion chapel. I do not think this shows neces-
sarily that the work was more than begun at that date. He
has also found a monogram, which we believe to be Gau-
denzio Ferrari's, on the central shield with a lion on it,
as given in the illustration facing
p. 210. On further consideration,
I feel more and more inclined to
think that the frescoes in this chapel
have been a good deal retouched.

I hardly question that the Se-
cond Vision of St. Joseph chapel
is by Tabachetti, as also the ,
Woman of Samaria. The Christ
in this last chapel is a restoration.
In a woodcut of 1640 the position
of the figures is reversed, but nothing more than the
positions.

Lastly, the Virgin's mother does not have eggs east of
Milan. It is aValsesian custom to give eggs beaten up
with wine and sugar to women immediately on their con-
finement, and I am told that the eggs do no harm though
not according to the rules. I am told that Valsesian influ-
ence must always be suspected when the Virgin's mother is
having eggs.

November 30, 1888.




Note, A copy of this postscript can be easily inserted
into a bound copy, and will be forwarded by Messrs.
TRUBNER & Co. on receipt of stamped and addressed
envelope.



EX V O T O.

CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.

IN the preface to " Alps and Sanctuaries " I
apologised for passing over Varallo-Sesia, the
most important of North Italian sanctuaries, on
the ground that it required a book to itself. This
book I will now endeavour to supply, though
well aware that I can only imperfectly and
unworthily do so. To treat the subject in the
detail it merits would be a task beyond my
opportunities ; for, in spite of every endeavour,
I have not been able to see several works and
documents, without which it is useless to try
and unravel the earlier history of the sanctuary.
The book by Caccia, for example, published
by Sessali at Novara in 1565, and reprinted at
Brescia in 1576, is sure to turn up some day,
but I have failed to find it at Varallo, Novara
(where it appears in the catalogue, but not on



2 EX VOTO.

the shelves), Milan, the Louvre, the British
Museum, and the Bodleian Library. Through
the kindness of Sac. Ant. Ceriani, I was able to
learn that the Biblioteca Ambrosiana possessed
what there can be little doubt is a later edition
of this book, dated 1587, but really published
at the end of 1586, and another dated 1591, to
which Signer Galloni in his " Uomini e fatti
celebri di Valle-Sesia" (p. no) has called
attention as the first work ever printed at
Varallo. But the last eight of the twenty-one
years between 1565 and 1586 were eventful,
and much could be at once seen by a compari-
son of the 1565, 1576, and 1586 [1587] editions,
about which speculation is a waste of time
while the earlier works are wanting. I have
been able to gather two or three interesting
facts by a comparison of the 1586 and 1591
editions, and do not doubt that the date, for
example, of Tabachetti's advent to Varallo and
of his great Calvary Chapel would be settled
within a very few years if the missing books
were available.

Another document which I have in vain
tried to see is the plan of the Sacro Monte as
it stood towards the close of the sixteenth
century, made by Pellegrino Tibaldi with a
view to his own proposed alterations. He who



INTRODUCTION. 3

is fortunate enough to gain access to this plan
which I saw for a few minutes in 1884, but
which is now no longer at Varallo will find a
great deal made clear to him which he will
otherwise be hardly able to find out Over and
above the foregoing, there is the inventory
drawn up by order of Giambattista Albertino
in 1614, and a number of other documents, to
which reference will be found in the pages of
Bordiga, Galloni, Tonetti, and of the many
others who have written upon the Val Sesia
and its history. A twelve months' stay in
the Val Sesia would not suffice to do justice
to all the interesting and important questions
which arise wholesale as soon as the chapels
on the Sacro Monte are examined with any
care. I shall confine myself, therefore, to a
consideration of the most remarkable features
of the Sacro Monte as it exists at present, and
to doing what I can to stimulate further study-
on the part of others.

I cannot understand how a field so interest-
ing, and containing treasures in so many respects
unrivalled, can have remained almost wholly
unfilled by the numerous English lovers of art
who yearly flock to Italy ; but the fact is one on
which I may perhaps be congratulated, inasmuch
as more shortcomings and errors of judgment



4 EX VOTO.

may be forgiven in my own book, in virtue of
its being the first to bring Varallo with any
prominence before English readers. That little
is known about the Sacro Monte, even by the
latest and best reputed authorities on art, may
be seen by turning to Sir Henry Layard's recent
edition of Kugler's " Handbook of Painting," a
work which our leading journals of culture have
received with acclamation. Sir Henry Layard
has evidently either never been at Varallo, or
has so completely forgotten what he saw there
that his visit no longer counts. He thinks, for
example, that the chapels, or, as he also calls
them, " stations " (which in itself should show
that he has not seen them), are on the way up
to the Sacro -Monte, whereas all that need be
considered are on the top. He thinks that the
statues generally in these supposed chapels " on
the ascent of the Sacro Monte " are attributed
to Gaudenzio Ferrari, whereas it is only in two
or three out of some five-and-forty that any
statues are believed to be by Gaudenzio. He
thinks the famous sculptor Tabachetti for
famous he is in North Italy, where he is known
was a painter, and speaks of him as " a local
imitator " of Gaudenzio, who " decorated " other
chapels, and " whose works only show how
rapidly Gaudenzio's influence declined and



INTRODUCTION. 5

his school deteriorated." As a matter of fact,
Tabachetti was a Fleming and his name was

O

Tabaquet; but this is a detail. Sir Henry Layard
thinks that " Miel " was also " a local imitator"
of Gaudenzio. It is not likely that this painter
ever worked on the Sacro Monte at all ; but if
he did, Sir Henry Layard should surely know
that he came from Antwerp. Sir Henry Layard
does not appear to know that there are any
figures in the Crucifixion Chapel of Gaudenzio, or
indeed in any of the chapels for which Gaudenzio
painted frescoes, and falls into a trap which
seems almost laid on purpose for those who
would write about Varallo without having been
there, in supposing that Gaudenzio painted a
Pieta on the Sacro Monte. Having thus dis-
played the ripeness of his knowledge as regards
facts, he says that though the chapels " on the
ascent of the Sacro Monte " are " objects of
wonder and admiration to the innumerable pil-
grims who frequent this sacred spot," yet " the
bad taste of the colour and clothing make them
highly repugnant to a cultivated eye."

I begin to understand now how we came to
buy the Blenheim Raffaelle.

Finally, Sir Henry Layard says it is " very
doubtful " whether any of the statues were
modelled or executed by Gaudenzio Ferrari at



6 EX VOTO.

all. It is a pity he has not thought it necessary
to give a single reason or authority in support
of a statement so surprising.

Some of these blunders appear in the edition
of 1874 edited by Lady Eastlake. In that
edition the writer evidently knows nothing of
any figures in the Crucifixion Chapel, and Sir
Henry Layard was unable to supply the omis-
sion. The writer in the 1874 edition says that
" Gaudenzio is seen as a modeller of painted
terra-cotta in the stations ascending to the
chapel (sic) on the Sacro Monte." It is from
this source that Sir Henry Layard got his idea
that the chapels are on the way up to the Sacro
Monte, and that they are distinct from those
for which Gaudenzio painted frescoes on the
top of the mountain. Having perhaps seen
photographs of the Sacro Monte at Varese,
where the chapels climb the hill along with
the road, or having perhaps actually seen the
Madonna del Sasso at Locarno, where small
oratories with frescoes of the Stations of the
Cross are placed on the ascent, he thought those
at Varallo might as well remain on the ascent
also, and that it would be safe to call them
"stations." It is the writer in the 1874 edition


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