One of Murillo’s pictures, in the possession of a society of friars in Flanders, was bought by an Englishman for a considerable sum, and the purchaser affixed his signature and seal to the back of the canvas, at the desire of the venders. In due time it followed him to England, and became the pride of his collection. Several years afterwards, however, while passing through Belgium, the purchaser turned aside to visit his friends the monks, when he was greatly surprised to find the beautiful work which he had supposed was in his own possession, smiling in all its original brightness on the very same wall where he had been first smitten by its charms! The truth was, that the monks always kept under the canvas an excellent copy, which they sold in the manner above related, as often as they could find a purchaser.
MURILLO AND HIS SLAVE GOMEZ.
Sebastian Gomez, the mulatto slave of Murillo, is said to have become enamored of art while performing the menial offices of his master’s studio. Like Erigonus, the color grinder of Nealces, or like Pareja, the mulatto of Velasquez, he devoted his leisure to the secret study of the principles of drawing, and in time acquired a skill with the brush rivalled by few of the regular scholars of Murillo. There is a tradition at Seville, that he took the opportunity one day, when the painting room was empty, of giving the first proof of his abilities, by finishing the head of a Virgin, that stood ready sketched on his master’s easel. Pleased with the beauty of this unexpected interpolation, Murillo, when he discovered the author of it, immediately promoted Gomez to the use of those colors which it had hitherto been his task to grind. “I am indeed fortunate, Sebastian,” said the good-natured artist, “for I have not only created pictures, but a painter.”
AN ARTIST’S LOVE ROMANCE.
Francisco Vieira, an eminent Portuguese painter, was still a child when he became enamored of Dona Ignez Elena de Lima, the daughter of noble parents, who lived on friendly terms with his own and permitted the intercourse of their children. The thread of their loves was broken for a while by the departure of the young wooer to Rome, in the suite of the Marquis of Abrantes. There he applied himself diligently to the study of painting, under Trevisani, and carried off the first prize in the Academy of St. Luke. On returning to Portugal, although only in his 16th year, he was immediately appointed by King John V. to paint a large picture of the Mystery of the Eucharist, to be used at the approaching feast of Corpus Christi; and he also painted the king’s portrait.
An absence of seven years had not affected Vieira’s constancy, and he took the first opportunity of flying once more to Ignez. He was kindly received by the Lima family, at their villa on the beautiful shores of the Tagus, and was permitted to reside there for a while, painting the scenery, and wooing his not unwilling mistress. When the maiden’s heart was fairly won, the parents at length interfered, and the lovers found the old adage verified, that “the course of true love never did run smooth.” Vieira was ignominiously turned out of doors, and the fair Ignez was shut up in the convent of St. Anna, and compelled to take the veil.