ALONSO CANO AND THE INTENDANT OF THE BISHOP OF MALAGA.
The Bishop of Malaga, being engaged in improving his Cathedral church, invited Cano to that city, for the purpose of designing a new tabernacle for the high altar, and new stalls for the choir. He had finished his plans, very much to the prelate’s satisfaction, when he was privately informed that the Intendant of the works proposed to allow him but a very trifling remuneration. “These drawings,” said Cano, “are either to be given away, or to fetch 2,000 ducats;” and packing them up, he mounted his mule, and took the road to Granada. The niggardly Intendant, learning the cause of his departure, became alarmed, and sent a messenger after him post-haste, offering him his own price for the plans!
CANO’S LOVE OF SCULPTURE.
Skillful as Cano was with the pencil, he loved the chisel above all his other artistic implements. He was so fond of sculpture that, when wearied with painting, he would take his tools, and block out a piece of carving. A disciple one day remarking that to lay down a pencil and take up a mallet, was a strange method of repose, he replied, “Blockhead! don’t you see that to create form and relief on a flat surface, is a greater labor than to fashion one shape into another?”
CASTILLO’S SARCASM ON ALFARO.
Juan de Alfaro first studied under Antonio del Castillo at Seville, and subsequently in the school of Velasquez at Madrid. After his return to Seville, he was wont to plume himself upon the knowledge of art which he had acquired in the school of that great painter; and he also signed all his pictures in a conspicuous manner, “Alfaro, pinxit.” This was too much for Castillo, and he accordingly inscribed his Baptism of St. Francis, executed for the Capuchin convent, where his juvenile rival was likewise employed, “Non pinxit Alfaro.” Years after, Palomino became sufficiently intimate with Alfaro, to ask him what he thought of Castillo’s sarcastic inscription. “I think,” replied the unabashed object of the jest, “that it was a great honor for me, who was then a beardless boy, to be treated as a rival by so able an artist.”
TORRES’ IMITATIONS OF CARAVAGGIO.
Matias de Torres, a Spanish painter, affected the style of Caravaggio. His compositions were half veiled in thick impenetrable shadows, which concealed the design, and sometimes left the subject a mystery. Francisco de Solis was standing before one of them, in the church of Victory at Madrid, representing a scene from the life of St. Diego, and was asked to explain the subject depicted. “It represents,” said the witty painter, “San Brazo,” St. Arm, nothing being distinguished but the arm of a mendicant in the background.