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Speaking to Jesus.
little castle near the Fucecchio Lake,
and here Leonardo was born. Although Go-speak to Jesus first;
the natural son of his father, he was Then to the child. Go, let Hiin speak to thee, nevertheless treated with the most Who taught on earth in Judah's waning days,
| affectionate kindness by Piero's succesOn mountain slopes, along the pebbly beach, And on the joyous billows of the sea.
sive wives, four in puinber. Early in Yes, in the closet hear His voice who spake | life he gave evidence of superior talents, As never man did speak. Ask for His mind, and the surroundings of his childhood Whose patience bore the burdens of a world ; were calculated to foster and develop Ask trustingly; the promise is to thee :
| his artistic instincts. At first, indeed, Thou shalt receive. Then meet the child as
| he seemed devoted to the paturalsciences. one For whom the Saviour died. That ransomed
Especially in mathematics did he soul!
come to be regarded as a prodigy. God knows-it may be given thee to lift
Physics was his delight. The record The little fledgling to an angel's seat.
of his numerous inventions betray the Oh! touch not heedlessly the chords that thrill To gladness or to woe. Lay gentle hands
daring originality of bis lionlike On things that tell the tale in other words. spirit. On the lute and guitar he was Go-speak to Jesus, wait His answering word; no ordinary performer, and his imThen tell the trusting child, like one who comes
provisations, both words and accomTransfigured from the mount of prayer.
paniment, are said to have been of the - London Sunday-School Teacher.
first order of excellence. But during
all these years his artistic genius in the Over Land and Sea.
direction in which he afterwards achieved his greatest triumph was not wholly
dormant. “Almost from his infancy," BY EDWIN A. GERNANT.
says one of his biographers, “ Leonardo
had been familiar with the use of the XVIII. Leonardo da Vinci.
pencil, and he frequently turned aside
from the drudgery of mathematics to “Here time has been more unsparing amuse himself by drawing. The same than is his wont-a shadow is all that paper which held his columns of figures remains of this once great work.” So and lettered angles was adorned with wrote Sir David Wilkie concerning simple bits of landscape or quaint little “ The Last Supper," whilst on a visit to caricatures. At last these sketches atMilan, during the Austrian domination tracted such attention that Ser Piero of Lombardy. Already in 1585 a cele-carried several of them to his friend, brated Italian mourned it as “utterly | Andrea Verocchio, a famous artist of ruined.” And yet Leonardo's master-Florence, who was amazed at their piece is still second to none among the originality, and strongly advised that attractions of Northern Italy. To the vouth should become a painter." thousands of visitors it affords a bigher In 1470 Leonardo began his studies pleasure than the great Cathedral itself. under the direction of Verocchio. He But few paintings have been so volumi- made such rapid progress that he soon nously written about; through the distanced his master. His earliest efagency of the engraver's art none are forts are distinguished by their fidelity more familiar to the inhabitants, rich to nature. It is questionable whether and poor, lettered and unlettered, of he would not bave been a better artist two continents. Wherever Christianity had he idealized more, but all are agreed has been successfully introduced, there in commending his careful attention to this truly Christian work of art has details and wonderful accuracy of porbecome known. Countless and more trayal. He was in the babit of attendor less perfect reproductions have made / ing the execution of criminals, in order it the common property of a civilized to watch their contortions and the world. A few words concerning the agonies of death. Thus he may be said artist himself, by way of preface to a to have realized, in a measure, the deconsideration of his greatest work. sire of Parhassius" to paint a dying
In 1452 Ser Piero da Vinci, a notary groan.” Socially Leonardo was in of the Fiorentine republic, lived in his great and constant de wand. His varied
accomplishments won for him the ad- efficient in the tournament or the swordmiration of all classes. “Clearly," play as in melting the hearts of Italian says Sweetser, “ a youth who was beau- beauties; his voice was as ready for the tiful on the promenade, magnificent on discussion of Archimedes or Aristotle horseback, and terrible with the sword, as for singing improvised love-sonnets, had the best of credentials to the fair or wooing the not unwilling ladies of ladies of the city, who were moreover the court.” charmed by his beauty, his poetry and We cannot of course follow the career music, and his graceful dancing. He of this many-sided man to its conclusion. was sought at all the balls and pro- Having accompanied him to Milan and menades, the riding parties in the vale witnessed his enthusiastic reception by of Arno, and the musical entertain-court and people, we may be prepared ments; and such were his powers of to watch the progress of his noblest fascination that he was called the ma- work. In his “ Last Supper" the ingician. His contemporaries say that terest of the average tourist in the life he was the handsomest of men, and his of Da Vinci culminates. rich costumes were always in keeping Notwithstanding the dissolute profiiwith his personal presence.”
gacy of Lodovico, there were times when But the great Lorenzo de Medici, the he was faithful to bis, for the most part noble art-patron of Florence, did not neglected, wife, the good Duchess seem to take kindly to the versatile Beatrice. Accordingly when she died Leonardo. Chafing under this neglect, he was filled with remorse. The Abbey. he addressed himself to the Regent of church of Santa Maria delle Grazie had Milan, and not without success. His been her favorite retreat during many fame had preceded him; his offer of years of pious devotion. Here numerservices in whatever direction these ous decorative works had been begun might be desired, insured his welcome under her approval, and among these to the pleasure-loving Milanese court. the subject of our sketch. The “ Last His arrival in 1481 called forth the Supper” was completed in 1498, after following lines from the city's poet-| about three years of pretty constant laureate :
labor. For a work of its size, or indeed
of much smaller size of equal scope and “Like bees to hive, here flocks each learned
merit, this was but a very short time. sage; With all that's good and great the court is
The artist labored indefatigably and thronged ;
with the most careful attention to deFrom Florence fair hath an Apelles come.” tail. Not only was the whole composi
tion fully wrought out in a cartoon, The bistory of Leonardo's experiences but each separate figure was itself exand triumphs in Milan reads like a ecuted in pastel. The earlier stages of novel. He became an indispensable the work, however, called forth the imretainer at the court of the ambitious patience of the prior at the head of the Lodovico. The latter was controlled monastery. To him it was merely a job, by his passions which were low and de- the covering of a given space of wallgrading, but he sought to hide the sen- surface with decorative painting. He sualities of his court by making it the could not appreciate Leonardo's hours home of the fine arts and the rendezvous of meditation, and at length he reported of literati. Naturally, Leonardo was to the Duke, who sent for the artist and regarded as a great acquisition, for he demanded a statement of the case from was " a man of men, whose brain con- his own lips. Of this interview, Vasari ceived with equal skill. madonnas and gives the following interesting account: ironclads, Apollos and siege-batteries, “Leonardo, knowing the prince to be church shrines and pontoon-bridges. intelligent and judicious, determined to His feet were as firm in the stirrups of explain himself fully on the subject the warhorse as they were graceful in with him, although he had never chosen the dance on palace-floors; his hand to do so with the prior. He, therefore, could bend an iron horse-shoe, or touch discoursed with him at some length rethe delicate strings of the lyre with specting art, and made it perfectly magic skill; his eye was as quick and manifest to his comprehension, that men of genius are sometimes producing may, while He (Christ) Himself, bows most when they seem to be laboring His head with downcast eyes. His least, their minds being occupied in the whole attitude, the motion of His arms elucidation of their ideas, and in the and hands, all seem to repeat with completion of those conceptions to heavenly recogoition, and His silence to which they afterwards give form and confirm : It cannot be otherwise. One expression with the hand. He further of you shall betray me.” informed the Duke that there were still The “ Last Supper" is painted on the wanting to him two heads, one of which, end wall of what was originally the that of the Saviour, he could not hope refectory of the monastery. To day it to find on earth, and had not yet at-is but a glorious ruin. It is hard to tained the power of presenting it to realize the enormity of neglect and himself in imagination, with all that I abuse which it has been allowed to reperfection of beauty and celestial graceceive. Toward the close of the sixteenth which appeared to him to be demanded century an inundation held the refecfor the due representation of the Divinity tory under water for many days. The Incarnate. The second head still want walls were thoroughly saturated, and ing, was that of Judas, which also caused thick mould covered the picture. About him some anxiety, since he did not the year 1624 the unappreciating monks think it possible to imagine a form or caused a doorway to be cut through the feature that should properly render the lower central portion of the picture. countenance of a man who, after so During the earlier part of the eighteenth many benefits received from his Master, century several bungling attempts at had possessed a heart so depraved restoration added grievous insult to as to be capable of betraying his Lord shameless injury, and in 1796 the enorand the creator of the world. With mity of abuse culminated in the occuregard to that second, however, be pation of the refectory as a stable, by would make search ; and after all, if the cavalry of Napoleon. “ The troophe could find no better, he need never ers," with ribald jest, “amused thembe at any great loss, for there would selves by throwing bricks and shooting always be the bead of that troublesome pistol-balls at the heads of the apostles.” and impertinent prior. This made the The general plan, design and grouping Duke laugh with all his heart. He de- is perbaps all of the original which, clared Leonardo to be completely in properly speaking, can be said to rethe right; and the poor prior utterly main. Here and there, huge blotches confounded, went away to drive on the | reveal the obliterating work of water, digging in his garden and left Leonardo mould and imperfect recoloring. And in peace.”
1 yet there is a majesty and grandeur The idea and general plan of the about the work whicho holds us spell“Last Supper,” is well-known to the bound. It is not antiquity nor associareaders of the GUARDIAN. The exact tion merely. It is not the thought that moment which the artist imagines as this once was a great work of art. You the time for bis representation is de- feel that it still is, and, as long as the scribed by St. Matthew in the twenty- least shadow remains, forever will be, first verse of the twenty-sixth chapter: the work of a master spirit, a great “ And as they did eat, he said, verily I creator, of whom Philip Hamerton
tray me; and they were exceeding sor- | Leonardo! the many-sided ! à narrower rowful, and began every one of them to nature might have yielded more say unto him, Lord, is it I ?" Upon abundant fruit." these words the whole force of the pic- "If what thou wouldst thou canst not, then ture is made to binge: “One of you content thee shall betray me.” In the faces of the To will as thou mayst act. It is but folly disciples you see the mingling emotions To will what cannot be : soon learns the wise of fear, amazement, doubt and profound | To wrest his will from bootless wishes free.” agitation. Says Goethe, in speaking of This quotation is part of a philosothis picture: “ These words have been phical sonnet ascribed to Leonardo. pronounced ; the whole party is in dis- | We may well believe that he lived up
to the excellent advice which it contains. mony for Christ. They preach to us Notwithstanding the versatility of his of things that are good and grand, pergenius, he never over-rated his own manent and pure. powers. He bad fixed principles of art, All great rivers start in mountains. and these he strove to realize. His fond- Though springing never so humbly, they ness for patural science was inimical to begin on lofty places, nearest heaven. his productivity as a painter. But even Their lowly narrow currents grow and here he was more than a mere fancy- spread, until they become the highways led wanderer; for he maintained, whe- of commerce, and the dispensers of ther rightly or not, that all the sciences, boundless blessings. The Jordan, Nile, except theology, metaphysics and law, Rhine, Rhone, Danube, Schuylkill, Suswere related to art. In Florence and quehanna, Ohio and Mississippi, all Milan, in Rome and Paris, his life be- origioate in mountain heights. Isaiah trays the same devotion to the work says that in the promised period of Zion's which he had in hand. He was, perhaps, prosperity “there shall be upon every more or less indifferent, practically, con- high mountain and upon every high cerning the claims of the church. But hill rivers and streams of water." those were the days of Rome's pomp and Isaiah 30: 25. profligacy. It is certain that his life was All religions, true and false, have far more irreproachable than that of honored mountains and cherished for most of the pontiffs and cardinals of his them a sort of traditional veneration. generation. No doubt in his spirit, as in The gods of Homer were made to dwell that of thousands, the slumbering forces on Olympus, then supposed by some of the Reformation were already beginn- the highest of all mountains. God ing to dawn. That he was pot an un- selected the top of Sinai and not the believer is proven by the articles of his sultry plain at its base, from which to will, wherein he makes careful provision proclaim His holy law. And at His for his burial according to the most im- direction Moses and Aaron died on posing ritual of the church. All in all, mountain tops, and there too they were Leonardo presents a life and character | buried. Nou in the lonely plain of superior to his time, and one which Jezreel, but on the overlooking Mount may be studied with profit in our own Carmel, God convinced and confounded
the prophets of Baal. On Bethlebem's hill and not in its plain, the world's
Redeemer was born. On Ararat the Mountains and their Moral. ark that saved the rempant of a ruined
race found a secure resting place, and BY THE EDITOR.
on the day of Pentecost a more endur
ing ark, “the Ark of safety," was A popular writer of the Reformed launched from the high plaius of JeruChurch, on hearing a certain worldly- salem. Mountains were the foundaminded person speaking of the useless- tions of Old Testament altars. On ness of mountains, replied: “God knew Mount Moriah Abraham built the first what He was about when He made the altar, and there Solomon built the great mountains.” And Rev. Dr. Winslow, temple. On Mount Gerizim the ten redying among his native mountains of volted tribes under Jeroboam built a Vermont, said: "I want to take the counterpart of that at Jerusalem. And memory of these mountains into eternity.” | the Altar of altars, which all other The Scriptures abound with allusions altars and sacrifices foreshadowed, was to them. The most of the events there on a hill near Jerusalem. Mount Zion, in narrated transpired in sight of moun the earthly figure of the Church, is tains. Go where you will, in Egypt, higher than Calvary or Moriah, and the Peninsula of Sinai and in Palestine, 180 feet higher than this is Olivet, the you will see them near at hand or bound- Mount of Ascension. ing the distant horizon. They are For 3500 years, from whatever part geographical and historical landmarks ; l of the world the Jew has gone to Jerumonuments of nature's upheavals. A salem, it was always going up, because “testimony of the rocks,” is a testi- I the city was built on a hill, on the ridge
of the highest table land in Palestine. like the first is preceded by darkness God's dwelling-place among men was and the warring of the elements. Cosmos called the hill of the Lord; in not a sin-comes after chaos. To become a Chrisgle instance are His people told to tian is to take up and bear the cross ; go down into the valley or plain of the to pass through a moral and spiritual Lord. There is a valley of slaughter, crucifixion. First the cross, then the a valley of dry bones, a valley of doubt crown; first death, then life everlasting; and decision, a valley of suffering, a first the gloom of the grave, then the valley of death ; but life, joy, transfigura- glory of the resurrection. tion, triumph, and ascension are loca- Mountains are places of refuge and ted on hills. Heaven and earth, saints safety. “Flee to the mountain, linger and angels, Christ and Moses, God and not in all the plain," was the message mortal man, meet on the Mount of the angels brought to Lot. There the Transfiguration. There must be a rea- kings of old bad their “strongholds," son for all this. Can we not find a spiri- where people good and evil found a tual meaning in mountains ? those refuge from danger. For 1500 years rougb, riven piles of rocks which lift us the castles of Europe were built on heavenward, whence for long ages past mountains. Along the Rhine, on the rivers of earth and rivers of life have Alps, the Appennines, in Great Britain, issued ?
and on the coptinent, the wars of cenThe Psalmist says: “The mountains turies cluster around these mountain shall bring peace to the people.” Geo-castles, behind whose walls the knights logically they are a majestic record of and lords of feudal times sought shelter. preceding wars. Nowhere do we find Ehrenbreitsteio, the great fortress of Ger“the footprints of the Creator" in such many, opposite Bingen, is called “the inipressive and overpowering characters Gibralter of the North.” The massive as here. What mysterious forces have rocks liftit 400 feet above the Rhine flowheaved and hoisted up these monstrous ing at its base. Its stores are sufficient masses ? Geologists teach us that the to sustain 8000 men during a siege of warring of the elements produced them. ten years. Its well sunk to the river That in the infancy of our globe inter- bed, never fails as long as the Rhine nal fires melted and tumbled things continues to flow. How all these high about in boiling tumult. At some places and hidden resources of mountains they boiled over in volcanoes, at others preach to us of One who is “ our refuge they simply raised the earth's crust or and strength, a very present help in rock-shell to greater elevations. What trouble.” a quaking and shaking of this poor “ Be thou my strong babitation whereearth it must have required to pile up unto I may continually resort. For these great mountains ! And yet, the thou art my rock and my fortress. Thou result is peace. Nowhere do we find art my strong refuge." more thriving fields and vineyards than Mountains furnish extensive views. on the disintegrated deposits of extinct The vast prairies may be very good for volcanoes. The once bissing streams of farming purposes, but afford limited liquid, lurid lava coursing down the sides views and monotonous scenery. Valleys of Ætna and Vesuvius are now covered contract the view, where wen are with the olive, grain and grape. Thus tempted to become narrow-minded and the garden spots of the globe are on the self-seeking. From mountains your old lava bede.
view takes in a much larger scope. Sin In grace as in nature, in spirit as in contracts the view, turns the mind on matter, conflict precedes peace; toil and itself and makes us selfish. From Sinai trial, precede rest; weakness precedes and Zion, Calvary and Olivet, you have strength. The transition from dark- a distinct outlook, and can see all things ness to light as a rule is not a gentle, of serious import in their proper relaeasy process. When Christ cast out tions. Artists say there is only one point demons, the evil spirits would cast down of view from which you can get a correct and tear the possessed before they would and true sight of a great painting. Ungo out. Evil is not eradicated without less you happen to stand on that one spot earnest conflict. The second creation you will vainly strive to comprehend it.