DONATELLO AND MICHAEL ANGELO COMPARED.
“I will not omit to mention,” says Vasari, “that the most learned and very reverend Don Vincenzio Borghini, of whom we have before spoken in relation to other matters, has collected into a large book, innumerable drawings of distinguished painters and sculptors, ancient as well as modern, and among these are two drawings on two leaves opposite to each other, one of which is by Donato, and the other by Michael Angelo Buonarroti. On these he has with much judgment inscribed the two Greek mottos which follow; on the drawing of Donato, “[Greek: E Donatos Bonarrotixei],” and on that of Michael Angelo, “[Greek: E Bonarrotos Donatixei],” which in Latin ran thus: Aut Donatus Bonarrotom exprimit et refert, aut Bonarrotus Donatum; and in our language they mean, ’Either the spirit of Donato worked in Buonarroti, or that of Buonarroti first acted in Donato.’”
SOFONISBA ANGUISCIOLA’S EARLY DISTINCTION.
This noble lady of Cremona (born about 1530), was one of six sisters, all amiable, and much distinguished in arts and letters. She displayed a taste for drawing at a very early age, and soon became the best pupil in the school of Antonio Campi. One of her early sketches, of a boy caught with his hand in the claw of a lobster, with a little girl laughing at his plight, was in possession of Vasari, and by him esteemed worthy of a place in a volume which he had filled with drawings by the most famous masters of that great age. Portraiture was her chief study; and Vasari commends a picture which he saw at her father’s house, of three of the sisters, and an ancient housekeeper of the family playing at chess, as a work “painted with so much skill and care, that the figures wanted only voice to appear alive.” He also praises a portrait which she painted of herself, and presented to Pope Julius III., who died in 1555, which shows that she must have attracted the notice of princes while yet in her girlhood. At Milan, whither she accompanied her father, she painted the portrait of the Duke of Sessa, the Viceroy, who rewarded her with four pieces of brocade and various rich gifts.
SOFONISBA’S VISIT TO SPAIN.
Her name having become famous in Italy, in 1559, the King of Spain ordered the Duke of Alba, who was then at Rome, to invite her to the court of Madrid. She arrived there in the same year, and was received with great distinction, and lodged in the palace. Her first work was the portrait of the king, who was so much pleased with the performance that he rewarded her with a diamond worth 1500 ducats, and settled upon her a pension of 200 ducats. Her next sitters were the young queen Elizabeth of Valois, known in Spain as Isabel of the Peace, then in the bloom of bridal beauty, and the unhappy boy, Don Carlos. By the desire of Pope Pius IV., she made a second