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the Society acted the tragedies of Sophocles and of Euripides, with all possible attention to the dresses and to the manners of the age and of the country, surrounded with the scenery and amidst the statues of the gods and the heroes of antiquity. Such an institution was highly honourable to Italy in general, and to Vicenza in particular, at a period when 'Transalpine nations were just emerging from ignorance, and opening their eyes to the rising brightness of taste and of science. The Olympic Academy still exists, and is composed now, as it was formerly, of the most respectable citizens, and of many learned foreigners; though I am sorry to add, that the Theatre has long lamented the absence of the tragic muse, having been devoted for many years solely to the assemblies of the Academy, or perhaps enlivened with the occasional merriment of a ball or a masquerade. Moreover, since the French invasion, it seems to have suffered from the negligence or from the poverty of the proprietors, owing partly to the heavy contributions laid on the town, and partly to that listlessness and depression of spirits which generally accompany national disasters. But when this storm shall have blown over, the national genius will probably revive and return with redoubled ardour to its favourite pursuits:

There are said to be about twenty palaces, which were erected by Palladio, some of which are of unusual magnificence, and contribute in the whole to give Vicenza an appearance of splendour and beauty not common even in Italy. In materials and magnitude they are inferior perhaps to the palaces of Genoa, but in style of architecture and in external beauty far superior. Palladio in fact had a particular talent in applying the orders and the ornaments of architecture to the decorations of private edifices. Unlike the ancients, who seem to have contented themselves with employing its grandeur in temples, porticos, and public buildings, he introduced it into common life, and communicated its elegant forms to private edifices and to ordinary dwellings. I do not mean to assert that the houses and the villas of the ancients were entirely devoid of architectural ornaments. Horace speaks of the columns that decorated the palaces of the rich Romans of his time.

Nempe, inter varias nutritur Sylva Columnas.

Epist. lib. 1. 10.

Non trabes Hymettire
Premunt columnas ultimâ recisas
Tu secanda marmora, &c.

Hor. 11. 18.

Pillars had been introduced long before, as Crassus, the orator, was humorously styled Venus Palatina, on account of six pillars of Hymettian marble, which ornamented his house on the Palatine Mount*. We learn also, from the same author, that Mamurra, a Roman knight, who had acquired great riches in the service of Julius Cæsar, entirely incrusted his house on Mount Celius with marble, and adorned it with columns of the richest species of the same materials. Cicero speaks of a Greek architect whom he employed, and complains of his ignorance or inattention in raising his pillars as he had placed them, neither perpendicular, nor opposite to each other. Aliquando, says Cicero, perpendiculo et lined discet utit. This surely is a strange compliment to a Greek artist. The pillars here alluded to seem to have supported the portico of his villa at Arpinum. Suetonius also, to give his reader an idea of the moderation of Augustus, observes, that the pillars of his house on the Palatine Mount were of Alban stone, not marble. But I am inclined to believe that such ornaments were confined to the most celebrated palaces, or perhaps employed only in the interior courts and surrounding porticos: if they had been common on the exterior we should have discovered some traces of them in the ruins of different villas, or at least in the fronts of the houses of Pompeii: and yet though I cannot assert that there are none, I do not recollect to have observed in the streets of the latter city the slightest vestige of architectural ornaments on private edifices. To these external decorations of architecture, the cities of Italy, and indeed most modern towns of any consideration, owe a great part of their beauty; and may glory, not perhaps without reason, in surpassing the towns of antiquity in general appearance.

* Plin. XXXIV. cap. 3.

+ Ad Quint: Fratrem. III. v.

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I feel some regret in being obliged to acknowledge, that the metropolis of the British empire, though the first city in Europe, for neatness, convenience, and cleanliness, is yet inferior to most capitals in architectural embellishment. This defect is owing, in a great degree, to the nature of the materials of which it is formed, as brick is ill calculated to receive the graceful forms of an Ionic volute, or of a Corinthian acanthus ; while the dampness of the climate seems to preclude the possibility of applying stucco to the external parts with permanent advantage. Besides some blame may justly be attributed to architects, who either know not, or neglect the rules of proportion and the models of antiquity; and in edifices, where no expense has been spared, often display splendid instances of tasteless contrivance and of grotesque ingenuity. But, it is to be hoped, that the industry and the taste of the British nation will, ere long, triumph over this double obstacle, inspire artists with genius, teach even brick to emulate marble, and give a becoming beauty and magnificence to the seat of government and to the Capital of so mighty an empire. Augustus found Rome of brick, and in his last moments boasted that he left it of marble*. May not London hope at length to see its Augustus ?

* Suet: D. Oct: Cæs: Aug. 28.

As Palladio was a native of Vicenza it may be proper to say something of that celebrated architect, while we are employed in admiring the many superb«structures with which he ornamented his country. Of all modern architects, Palladio seems to have had the best taste, the most correct ideas, and the greatest influence over his contemporaries and posterity. Some may have had more boldness and genius, others more favourable opportunities of displaying their talents; and such, in both respects, was the felicity of the two grand architects of St. Peter's, Bramante and Michael Angelo : but Palladio has the exclusive glory of having first collected, from the writings and monuments of the ancients, a canon of symmetry and proportion, and of having reduced architecture, under all its forms, to a regular and complete system. I am aware that many parts of that system have been severely criticized; that his pedestals, for instance, are by many considered as heavy, his half pillars as little, and his decorations as luxuriant: yet it must be remembered, that these real or merely nominal defects are authorized by the practice of the ancients; and that it is not fair to blame, in a modern edifice, that which is admired in the Temple of Fortuna Virilis, or on the Triumphal Arch of Trajan. But supposing this criticism well founded, every candid spectator will admit, that there are in all the edifices erected under the direction, or on the immediate plans of Palladio a simplicity and beauty, a symmetry and majesty, that abundantly compensate petty defects, and fulfil all the ends of architecture, by producing greatness of manner and unity of design.

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I know not whether my opinion, in this respect, may agree with that of professed artists; but of all the grand fabrics which I have had an opportunity of contemplating after St. Peter's and the Pantheon, the two master-pieces, one of ancient, the other of modern

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architecture, I own I was most delighted with the abbey church of St. George, at Venice, and that of St. Justina, at Padua. Addison represents the latter as the most luminous and disencumbered building that he had ever seen; though, for my part, I should be inclined to give the preference to the former, which he passes over in silence: but be the superiority where it may, both these superb edifices display the characteristic features of Palladian architecture to the highest advantage; and in a manner not often witnessed, even in Italy, blend simplicity with ornament, extent with proportion, and combination with unity. St. Justina was, if I be not mistaken, erected on the plan of Palladio, though after his death; some defects consequently occur in the execution, which ought not to be attributed to that illustrious architect, particularly as these defects are lost in the admirable symmetry and proportion of the whole; perfections owing exclusively to the genius that conceived and arranged the original model. On the whole, Palladio may be considered as the Vitruvius of modern architecture; and it has been very properly recommended to persons who wish to make a proficiency in that art, to pass some time at Vicenza, Padua, and Venice, in order to study the many monuments of Palladian skill that abound in these cities.

The splendor of Vicenza is not confined to its walls, but extends to the country for some distance round, where private or public munificence has erected several villas and magnificent edifices. Among the former, we may rank the villa of the Marchesi, called the Rotunda, an exquisite fabric of Palladio's, and among the latter the triumphal arch and the portico which lead to the church on Monte Berico. The arch is said by some to be the work of Palladio, in imitation of that of Trajan at Ancona ; and is, like it, light and airy. The portico is a noble gallery leading from the town to the


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