Imatges de pÓgina

as a native art, we are certain that at the,
period when Rome was the metropolis of
the world, the fine arts were cultivated in
that city exclusively by Greek artists,
or by artists of the Gig schools. By com-
paring the descriptions of Vitruvius and
Pliny with those of Theophrastus, we learn
that the same materials for colouring were
employed at Rome and at Atheus; and
of thirty great painters that Pliny mentions
whose works were known to the Romans,
two only are expressly mentioned as born
in Italy, and the rest were Greeks. Orna-ject.
mental fresco painting was indeed geue-
rally exercised by inferior artists; and the
designs on the walls of the houses of Her-
culaneum and Pompeii, towns of the third
or fourth order, can hardly be supposed to
offer fair specimens of excellence, even in
this department of the art: but in Rome,
in the time of her full glory, and in the or-
naments of the imperial palace of the first
Cesars, all the resources of the distinguished
aritsts of that age were probably employed.
Phny names Cornelius Pinus and Accius
Priscus as the two artists of the greatest
merit in his own time, and states that they
painted the Temple of Honour and Virtue,
"Imperatori Vespasiano Augusto restituenti;"
and it is not improbable that these
artists had a share in executing, or direct-
ing the execution of, the paintings and or-
naments in the baths of Titus; and at this
period the works of Zeuxis, Parrhasius,
Timanthes, Apelles, and Protagoras, were
exhibited in Rome, and must have guided
the taste of the artists. The decorations of
the baths were intended to be seen by
torch-light, and many of them at a consi-
derable elevation so that the colours were
brilliant, and the contrast strong; yet stili
these works are regarded by connoisseurs.
as performances of considerable excellence
the minor ornaments of them have led to
the foundation of a style in printing which
might with much more propriety be called
Romanesque than Arabesque and no
greater eulogy can be bestowed upon them
than the use to which they have been ap
plied by the greatest painter of modern
times, in the exquisite performances in the
Vatican. In these and in other works of
the same age, the effect of the ancient
models is obvious; and the various copies
and imitations that have been made of these
remains of antiquity have transferred their
spirit into modern art, and left little to be

s to those results which the skill of

the painter can command. There remains, however, another use to which they m

be applied, that of making us acquainted with the nature and chemical composition of the colours used by the Greek and Roman artists. The works of Theophras tus, Dioscorides, Vitruvius, and Pliny, contain descriptions of the substances used by the ancients as pigments; but hitherto, I believe, no experimental attempt has been made to identify them, or to imitate such of them as are peculiar.* In the following pages I shall have the honour of offering to the Society an investigation of this subMy experiments have been made upon colours found in the baths of Titus, and the ruins called the baths of Livia, and in the remains of other palaces and baths of ancient Rome, and in the ruins of Pompeii. By the kindness of my friend, the celebrated Canova, who is charged with the care of the works connected with ancient art in Rome, I have been enabled to select, with my own hands, specimens of the different pigments that have been found in vases discovered in the excavations lately made beneath the ruins of the palace of Titus, and to compare them with the colours fixed on the walls or detached in fragments of stucco: and Signor Nelli, the proprietor of the Nozze Aldobrandine, with great liberality permitted ine to make such experiments upon the colours of this celebrated picture, as were necessary to determine their nature. When the preservation of a work of art was concerned, I made my researches upon mere atonis of the colour, taken from a place where the loss was imperceptible: and without having injured any of the precious remains of antiquity, I Batter myself, I shall be able to give some information not without interest to scientific men as well as to artists, and not wholly devoid of practical application.

* De Architectura, ib. vi c. p. 5. † De Lapidibus.

Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xxxv. cap. §7.

II. Of the Red Colours of the Ancients. Amongst the substances found in a large earthen vase filled with mixtures of dilerent colours with clay or chalk, found about

In the 70th volume of the Annaies de Chimic, page 22, M. Chaptal has published a paper on seven colours found in a colourshop at Pompeii. Four of these he found to be natural colours, ochres, a specimen of Verona green, and one of pumice stone. Two of them were blues, which he considers as compounds of alumine and lime with. oxide of copper, and the last a pale rose colour, which he regards as analagous to the lake formed by fixing the colouring inatter of madder upon alumine. 1 shalf again refer to the observations of M. Claptal in the theourse of this paper. It will be found on perusal, that they do not say persede the inquiry mentioned in the text.

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two years ago in a chamber at that time opened in the baths of Titus, are three dif ferent kinds of red; one right and approaching to orange, another dull red, a third a purplish red* On exposing the bright red to the flame of alcoho, it be came darker red; and on incre sing the heat by a blow-pipe, it fused into a mass having the appearance of sitharge, and which was proved to be this substance by the action of sulphuric and muriatic acids. This colour is consequently minium, or the red oxide of lead.

On exposing the dull red to heat, it became black, but on cooling, recovered its former tint. When heated in a glass tube it afforded no volatile matter condensible by cold but water. Acted on by muriatic acid, it rendered it yellow; and the acid, after being heated upon it, yielded an orange-coloured precipitate to ammo nia. When fused with hydrate of potassa, the colour rendered it yellow; and the mixture acted on by nitric acid afforded silica and orange oxide of iron. It is evident from these results that the duli red colour is an irou ochre.

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under that of cerussa usta. It is said, by Pliny,† to have been discovered accidentally by means of a fire that took place at the Piræus at Athens. Some ceruse which had been exposed to this fire was found converted into minium, and the process was artificially imitated: and he states, that it was first used as a pigment by Nicias.‡

Several red earths used in painting are described by Theophrastus, Vitruvius, and Pliny. The Sinopian earth, the Armenian earth, and the African ochre, which had its red colour produced by calcination.

Cinnabar and vermilion was called by the Greeks, kinnabar, and by the Romans minium. It is said by Theophrastus¶ to have been discovered by Callias, an Athenian, ninety years before Praxibulus, and in the 349th year of Rome, and was prepared by washing the ores of quicksilver. According to Pliny,** who quotes Vérrius, it was a colour held in great esteem in Rome at the time of the Republic; on great

stivals it was used for painting the face of Jupiter Capitolinus, and likewise for colouring the body of the victor in the triumphal processions, "sic Camillum triumphasse." Pliny mentious that even in his time vermilion was always placed at triumphal feasts amongst the precious ointments; and that the first occupation of new censors of the Capitol was to fill the place of vermilion-painter to Jupiter.

Vermilion was always a very dear colour amongst the Romans; and we are informed by Pliny, that to prevent the price from being excessive, it was fixed by the government. The circumstance of the chambers in the baths of Titus being covered with it, affords proof in favour of their being intended for imperial use; and we are expressly informed by the author I have just quoted, that the Laocoon, in his time, was in the palace of Titus:‡‡ and the taste of the ancients in selecting a colour to give full effect to their master-pieces of sculpture was similar to that of a late celebrated English connoisseur.

Pliny describes a second or inferior sort of vermilion formed by calcining stone

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found in veins of lead. It is evident that | used it in a different sense; and some conthis substance was the same as our minium, fusion was natural when different colours and the Roman cerussa usta, and the stones were prepared from the same substance by alluded to by Pliny, must have been car- different degrees of calcination. bonate of lead: and he states distinctly, that it is a substance which becomes red only when burnt.

I have not detected the use of orpiment in any of the ancient fresco paintings ;but a deep yellow approaching to orange, which covered a piece of stucco in the ruins to be oxide of lead, and consisted of mas near the monument of Caius Cestius, proved the ancients used many colours from sicot mixed with minium. It is probable lead of different tints between the usta of Pliny, which was our minium, and imperfectly decomposed ceruse, or pale massicot.

The yellows in the Aldobrandini picture are all ochres. I examined the colours in of the houses at Pompeii, of a lion and a a very spirited picture, on the wall of one man; they all proved to be red and yellow [To be continued.]


III. Of the Yellow of the Ancients. A large earthen pot found in one of the chambers of the baths of Titus contains a quantity of a yellow paint, which, sub-that mitted to chemical examination, proved to be a mixture of yellow ochre with chalk

or carbonate of lime.


This colour is used in considerable quantities in different parts of the baths; but principally in the least ornamented chambers, and in those which were probably intended for the use of the domestics. the vase to which I alluded in the last section, I found three different yellows; two of them proved to be yellow ochres mixed with different quantities of chalk, and the third a yellow ochre anixed with red oxide of lead, or minium.

The ancients procured their yellow ochre* from different parts of the world; but the most esteemed, as we are informed by Pliny, was the Athenian ochre; and it is stated by Vitruvius, that in his time the mine which produced this substance was no longer worked.


A dreadful eruption of this Volcano took place on the first day of February, 1814.

This volcanic mountain is situated in the province of Camarines, on the southern part of the island of Lucon, or Luconia, one of the Philippine isles of the Indian


troyed by the eruption; more than twelve Five populous towns were entirely deshundred of the inhabitants perished amidst the ruins; and the twenty thousand who survived the awful catastrophe were stript of their possessions, and reduced to beggary.

The ancients had two other colours, which was orange or yellow; the auripig. mentum, or arsenikon said to approach to gold in its colour, and which is described by Vitruviust as found native in Pontus, and which is evidently sulphuret of arsenic; and a pale sandarach, said by Pliny to have been found in gold and silver mines, and which was imitated at Rome by a partial calcination of ceruse, and which must have been massicot, or the yellow oxide of lead mixed with minium. That there was a colour called by the Romans sandarach, different from pure minium, is evident from what Pliny says: namely, that the palest kind of orpiment resembles sanda-sign rach, and from the line of Nævius, one of the most ancient Latin poets, "Merula sandaracino ore:" so that this colour must have been a bright yellow similar to that of the beak of the blackbird. Dioscorides describes the best sandarach as approach ing in colour to vermillion,§ and the Greeks probably always applied this term to minium; but the Romans seem to have

OCHRA Theophrastus de Lapidibus.
Vitruvius, lib. vii.
Histoire de la Peinture ancienné, pà. 199.
§ Lib. v. 122.

tation was drawn up by an eye-witness, and The following account of this awful visiintended as an appeal to the charitable feelings of the inhabitants of the Manilla slands:

More than 18 years had elapsed, during which the volcano of Albay, by some called Mayon, had preserved a continued and profound silence, without giving the least

of its existence. It was no longer viewed with that distrust and horror, with which volcanoes usually inspire those who inhabit the vicinity. In the year 1800, its last eruptions took place, in which it emitted a great quantity of stones, sand, and ashes, (as had always been usual), and occasioned considerable damage to the same villages that it has now completely destroyed; rendering useles a great number of fertile fields, which thenceforth were converted into arid and frightful sands. In the latter part of October of that year the last eruption happened, and caused more damage to those villages.


served that in an instant the brow of the volcano was covered by it, We had never seen a similar eruption, and were immediately convinced that a river of fire, was coming towards us, and was about to consume us. The first thing that was done in my village was to secure the holy sacrament from profanation, and betake ourselves to a precipitate flight. The swiftness with which that dreadful tide rolled towards us, did not give us much time either for reflection or conversation. The frightful noise that the volcano made caused great terror, even in the stoutest hearts. We all ran terrified, and filled with the greatest dismay and consternation, endeavouring to reach the highest and most distant places, in order to preserve ourselves from so imminent a danger. The horizon began to darken, and our anxieties redoubled. The noise of the volcano continually increased; the darkness augmented; and we continued our flight for the preservation of our lives, removing further and further from an object so terrific. But notwithstanding the swiftness with which we run, we were overtaken in our disastrous flight by a heavy shower of huge stones, by the violence of which many unfortunate persons were in a moment deprived of life. This unforeseen and cruel circumstance obliged us to make a pause in our al-career, and to shelter ourselves under the houses; but flames and burnt stones fell from above, which in a short time reduced them to ashes.

Since that time we had not remarked | any circumstance indicative of the existence of the volcano, and therefore all the apprehension that it had formerly inspired was gradually dissipating. Consequently, its extensive and spacious brow had been converted into a highly cultivated and beautiful garden. In particular, the inhabitants of Camalig and Budiao had planted upon it many cocoa-trees, and every kind of fruit-trees, with a variety of roots and vegetab es; which, while they afforded an agreeable perspective, supplied, by their excellent productions, many industrious families with food.

In this state was the volcano on the first day of February last. No person reflected in the slightest degree upon the damages and losses that so bad a neighbour had been in the habit of occasioning. We had become persuaded, in consequence of so long a silence, that it was now completely extinguished, and that all those subterraneous conduits were closed, through which it attracted to itself and kindled the combustible materials, which it had formerly so continually thrown out. Nor had we seen or remarked any signs which might indicate to us beforehand what was about to take place. In the former eruptions, there were heard, a considerable time previous, certain subterraneous sounds, that were sure presages of them. It also exhaled most continually a thick smoke, by which it announced them. But upon the present occasion, we remarked nothing of all this. It is true, that on the last day of January we perceived some slight shocks; but we scarcely noticed them, on account of their having been very frequent since the earthquake that we experienced on the 5th of October, of the year 1811. On Monday night the shocks increased. At two in the morning, we felt one more violent than those we had hitherto experienced. It was repeated at four, and from that hour they were almost continual, until the eruption commenced.

Who is capable of making an exact relation of scenes so sad and melancholy, and of presenting them to the public in the same manner that they occurred? Which of us thought to escape with life, upon beholding such manifest signals of Divine justice? As for myself, I remembered in those dreadful moments the disastrous fate of the cities of Pentapolis, and I was then persuaded that the unfortunate villages of Camarines were about to suffer the same unhappy catastrophe. Terrible reflections, it is true, but founded upon the immorality of manners which had long been remarked in those villages!

Tuesday dawned, and I scarcely ever remarked at Camarines a more serene and pleasant morning, or a clearer sky. I observed, however, that the ridges nearest to the volcano were covered with a mist, that I supposed to be the smoke of some house thereabouts that had been on fire in the night. At eight o'clock on that fatal morning the volcano began suddenly to emit a thick column of stones, sand, and ashes, which with the greatest velocity was elevated in a moment to the highest part of the atmosphere. At this sight we were astonished, and filled with the ut

In this dreadful situation, we called upon God, in such manner as we could, from the bottom of our afflicted and almost broken hearts, beseeching him for pardon and mercy. It became completely dark, and we remained enveloped and immersed in the most thick and palpable darkness, comparable only to that which in the time of Moses was witnessed in Egypt. From this moment reflection is at an end, advice is no longer given, and no person recognimost dread, and especially when we obses another, The father abandons his


children, the husband his wife, she remembers not her beloved spouse, and the children forget their parents. No one thinks that he can assist his fellows, because all believe that they are about to die.


to rain heavy stones, and each one endea At about ten in the forenoon it ceased voured to remain in the situation he then was, waiting until the rain of thick sand until some new and unforeseen calamity which succeeded it should also cease, or shou'd terminate the existence of us all.

But as man, even in the most critical and destitute situations, endeavours by all possible methods to preserve life, each one of us, for this interesting object, made uɛe of all the means and expedients that could be resorted to, in the terrible condition to which we were reduced. Of what various and different methods did not we, who have escaped with life, avail ourselvs, that we might not perish at that time? In the houses we now found no shelter. It was necessary to abandon them with all haste, in order not to perish with them. To go out uncovered, was to expose one's self to a danger not less imminent; because the stones that fell were of an enormous size, and fell as thick as rain itself. It was necessary, that we might not die in the one or the other manner, to cover ourselves and de-gle house in that village. The joy that all fend ourselves as well as we could. We did felt at having preserved life through such imso. Some covered themselves with hides, minent dangers, in many was, instantly conothers with tables and chairs, others with verted into the extremity of sorrow at findboards and tea trays. Many took refuge ing themselves deprived of their relations, in the trunks of trees, others among the friends, and acquaintances. There, a father canes and hedges, and some hid them-finds his children dead; here, a husband selves in a cave, which the brow of a mountain offered them. Those only of us survive, who had the good fortune to protect themselves by one or other of those methods; but those who were in the open air, with nothing at hand with which they could cover themselves, almost all perished, or were wounded.

We thus continued unti! half past one of the volcano began to diminish, and the horizon to clear a little, at sight of in the afternoon, at which hour the noise which there was revived in us the hope of life, which until then had been almost wholly extinguished. At about two in the afternoon it became entirely clear, and we began to perceive distinctly the lamentable and dreadful ravages that the darkness had hitherto concealed from us. bodies, part of whom had been killed by the stones, and the others consumed by with terror the ground covered with dead We saw the church of Budiao; thirty-five in a sinthe fire. Two hundred of those perished in

larly in the village of Budiao, where there his wife, and a wife her husband; particutheir nearest connexions. place, at every step one met innumerawere very few who had not lost some of ble other unhappy wretches extended upon In another the ground, who, though not deprived of ways. Some with their legs broken, some life, were wounded or bruised in a thousand tured, and others with their whole bodies without arms, some with their sculls frac

full of wounds. Such were the mournful

The horrid and frightful noise of the volcano increased to its utmost;

the shower

of stones and thick sand augmented; the burning stones and meteors continued to fall, and in a very short time reduced to ashes the most beautiful villages of the province of Camarines. Would you have signs more analogous to those that are to take place at the last judgement? The animals of the mountain descend precipi tately to the villages to seek in them a secure asylum. The domestic animals ran terrified with the greatest disorder and affright, uttering cries that indicated their approaching end. Nothing interested us in those dreadful moments but the preservation of our own lives. But, alas Divine justice had already marked and pointed out, with the finger of Omnipotence, a great number of victims, who were to perish in this day of wrath and fury, in every respect very similar to what we read in the holy Scriptures concerning the day of the last judge


objects that presented themselves to us dur-
ing the remainder of that afternoon, many
of whom died immediately, and others on
abandoned to the most melancholy fate,
the following days; the rest remaining
in want even of necessary food.
without physicians, without medicines, and

remembrance of which will ever be indelibly engraven upon our hearts. Not one of A horrible and mournful day it was, the frightful shapes, threatening to deprive us us then thought to escape with life. Death presented himself to us in various and of life by different and horrible methods. But the powerful hand of our beneficent and sovereign God restrained him. At his commanding voice, pale death was appalled. He trembled, groaned, and left us. He flees, terror-stricken, to the caverns of the earth, and there began to mourn and

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