In This Picture Is A Most Grand And
Melancholy Moral Lesson.
The classical forms are evidently not
introduced because they are classic, but in subservience to the
expression of the moral.
In the orgies of the sensualists here
represented he gives all the grace and beauty of sensuality without
its sensualizing effect. Nothing could be more exquisite than the
introduction of the busts of the departed heroes of the old republic,
looking down from their pedestals on the scene of debauchery below. It
is a noble picture, which I wish was hung up in the Capitol of our
nation to teach our haughty people that as pride, and fulness of
bread, and laxness of principle brought down the old republics, so
also ours may fall. Although the outward in this painting, and the
classical, is wrought to as fine a point as in any French picture, it
is so subordinate to the severity of the thought, that while it
pleases it does not distract.
But to return to the Louvre. The halls devoted to paintings, of which
I have spoken, give you very little idea of the treasures of the
institution. Gallery after gallery is filled with Greek, Roman,
Assyrian, and Egyptian sculptures, coins, vases, and antique remains
of every description. There is, also, an apartment in which I took a
deep interest, containing the original sketches of ancient masters.
Here one may see the pen and ink drawings of Claude, divided into
squares to prepare them for the copyist.
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