“I pause, without writing ‘everlasting,’ as perhaps you expected. Neither Carpaccio nor I know anything about duration of life, or what the word translated ‘everlasting’ means. Nay, the first sign of noble trust in God and man, is to be able to act without any such hope. All the heroic deeds, all the purely unselfish passions of our existence, depend on our being able to live, if need be, through the Shadow of Death: and the daily heroism of simply brave men consists in fronting and accepting Death as such, trusting that what their Maker decrees for them shall be well.
“But what Carpaccio knows, and what I know, also, are precisely the things which your wiseacre apothecaries, and their apprentices, and too often your wiseacre rectors and vicars, and their apprentices, tell you that you can’t know, because ‘eye hath not seen nor ear heard them,’ the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them to us—to Carpaccio, and Angelico, and Dante, and Giotto, and Filippo Lippi, and Sandro Botticelli, and me, and to every child that has been taught to know its Father in heaven,—by the Spirit: because we have minded, or do mind, the things of the Spirit in some measure, and in such measure, have entered into our rest.”
Let me only dare to add that it is quite possible to extract enormous pleasure from the study of Carpaccio’s works without agreeing with any of the foregoing criticism.
THE ACCADEMIA. III: GIOVANNI BELLINI AND THE LATER PAINTERS
Pietro Longhi—Hogarth—Tiepolo—A gambling wife—Canaletto—Guardi—The Vivarini—Boccaccini—Venetian art and its beginnings—The three Bellinis—Giovanni Bellini—A beautiful room—Titian’s “Presentation”—The busy Evangelists—A lovely ceiling.
A number of small rooms which are mostly negligible now occur. Longhi is here, with his little society scenes; Tiepolo, with some masterly swaggering designs; Giambettino Cignaroli, whom I mention only because his “Death of Rachel” is on Sundays the most popular picture in the whole gallery; and Canaletto and Guardi, with Venetian canals and palaces and churches. For Tiepolo at his best the Labia Palace must be visited, and Longhi is more numerously represented at the Museo Civico than here. Both Canaletto and Guardi can be better studied in London, at the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection. There are indeed no works by either man to compare with the best of ours. No. 494 at Hertford House, a glittering view of the Dogana, is perhaps Guardi’s masterpiece in England; No. 135 in the National Gallery, Canaletto’s.