Separate multiple e-mails with a ;. Thought you might appreciate this item s I saw at Current Opinion in Pediatrics. Send a copy to your email. Some error has occurred while processing your request. Please try after some time. Bibliography Current World Literature. Current Opinion in Pediatrics17 1 , February Add Item s to:. An Existing Folder. A New Folder. Beneath these villages stand groups of stone pines clearly visible upon the naked country, cypresses like spires beside the square white walls of convent or of villa, patches of dark foliage, showing where the ilex and the laurel and the myrtle hide thick tangles of rose-trees and jessamines in ancient gardens.
Nothing can exceed the barren aspect of this 42 country in midwinter: it resembles an exaggerated Sussex, without verdure to relieve the rolling lines of down, and hill, and valley; beautiful yet, by reason of its frequent villages and lucid air and infinitely subtle curves of mountain-ridges. But when spring comes, a light and beauty break upon this gloomy soil; the whole is covered with a delicate green veil of rising crops and fresh foliage, and the immense distances which may be seen from every height are blue with cloud-shadows, or rosy in the light of sunset.
Of all the towns of Lower Tuscany, none is more celebrated than Siena. It stands in the very centre of the district which I have attempted to describe, crowning one of its most considerable heights, and commanding one of its most extensive plains. As a city it is a typical representative of those numerous Italian towns, whose origin is buried in remote antiquity, which have formed the seat of three civilisations, and which still maintain a vigorous vitality upon their ancient soil. Its site is Etruscan, its name is Roman, but the town itself owes all its interest and beauty to the artists and the statesmen and the warriors of the middle ages.
A city wall follows the outline of the hill, from which the towers of the cathedral and the palace, with other cupolas and red-brick campanili, spring; while cypresses and olive-gardens stretch downwards to the plain. Over all, in the distance, rises Monte Amiata melting imperceptibly into sky and plain. They are the public palace, the cathedral, and the house of S. High above every other building in the town soars the straight brick tower of the Palazzo Pubblico, the house of the republic, the hearth of civil life within the State.
It guards an irregular Gothic building in which the old government of Siena used to be assembled, but which has now for a long time been converted into prisons, courts of law, and showrooms. Let us enter one chamber of the Palazzo—the Sala della Pace, where Ambrogio Lorenzetti, the greatest, perhaps, of Sienese painters, represented the evils of lawlessness and tyranny, and the benefits of peace and justice, in three noble allegories.
They were executed early in the fourteenth century, in the age of allegories and symbolism, when poets and painters strove to personify in human shape all thoughts and sentiments. The first great fresco represents Peace—the peace of the Republic of Siena.
Ambrogio has painted the twenty-four councillors who formed the Government, standing beneath the thrones of Concord, Justice, and Wisdom. From these controlling powers they stretch in a long double line to a seated figure, gigantic in size, and robed with the ensigns of baronial sovereignty. This figure is the State and Majesty of Siena. Faith, Hope, and Charity, the Christian virtues, float like angels in the air above.
Armed horsemen guard his throne, and captives show that he has laid his enemy beneath his feet. The rulers of the State are subordinate to the State itself; they stand between the State and the great animating principles of wisdom, justice, and concord, incarnating the one, and receiving inspiration from the others. The pagan qualities of prudence, magnanimity, and courage give stability and greatness to good government, while the spirit of Christianity must harmonise and rule the whole. Arms, too, are needful to maintain by force what right and law demand, and victory in a just quarrel proclaims the power and vigour of the commonwealth.
On another wall Ambrogio has depicted the prosperous city of Siena, girt by battlements and moat, with tower and barbican and drawbridge, to insure its peace. Through the gates stream country-people, bringing the produce of their farms into the town. The streets are crowded with men and women intent on business or pleasure; craftsmen at their trade, merchants with laden mules, a hawking party, hunters scouring the plain, girls dancing, and children playing in the open square.
A school-master watching his class, together with the sculptured figures of Geometry, Astronomy, and Philosophy, remind us that education and science flourish under the dominion of well-balanced laws. The third fresco exhibits the reverse of this fair spectacle. Here Tyranny presides over a scene of anarchy and wrong. He is a hideous monster, compounded of all the bestial attributes which indicate force, treason, lechery, and fear. Avarice and Fraud and Cruelty and War and Fury sit around him.
At his feet lies Justice, and 45 above are the effigies of Nero, Caracalla, and like monsters of ill-regulated power. Not far from the castle of Tyranny we see the same town as in the other fresco; but its streets are filled with scenes of quarrel, theft, and bloodshed. Nor are these allegories merely fanciful. In the middle ages the same city might more than once during one lifetime present in the vivid colours of reality the two contrasted pictures.
She is dressed in white and crowned with olive; the folds of her drapery, clinging to the delicately modelled limbs beneath, irresistibly suggest a classic statue. So again does the monumental pose of her dignified, reclining, and yet languid figure. It seems not unreasonable to believe that Lorenzetti copied Peace from the antique Venus which belonged to the Sienese, and which in a fit of superstitious malice they subsequently destroyed and buried in Florentine soil.
Comines describes it as a city which 'se gouverne plus follement que ville d'Italie.
Quitting the Palazzo, and threading narrow streets, paved with brick and overshadowed with huge empty palaces, we reach the highest of the three hills on which Siena stands, and see before us the Duomo. This church is the most purely Gothic of all Italian cathedrals designed by national architects. It is built wholly of marble, and overlaid, inside and out, with florid ornaments of exquisite beauty.
There are no flying buttresses, no pinnacles, no deep and fretted doorways, such as form the charm of French and English architecture; but instead of this, the lines of parti-coloured marbles, the scrolls and wreaths of foliage, the mosaics and the frescoes which meet the eye in every direction, satisfy our sense of variety, producing most agreeable combinations of blending hues and harmoniously connected forms. This single fact sufficiently proves that the Italians had never seized the true idea of Gothic or aspiring architecture.
But, allowing for this original defect, we feel that the Cathedral of Siena combines solemnity and splendour to a degree almost unrivalled. Its dome is another point in which the instinct of Italian architects has led them to adhere to the genius of their ancestral art rather than to follow the principles of Gothic design.
The dome is Etruscan and Roman, native to the soil, and only by a kind of violence adapted to the character of pointed architecture. The Duomo, as it now stands, forms only part of a vast design. On entering we are amazed to hear that this church, which looks so large, from the beauty of its proportions, the intricacy of its ornaments, and the interlacing of its columns, is but the transept of the intended building lengthened a little, and surmounted by a cupola and campanile.
Soon after its commencement a plague swept over Italy, nearly depopulated Siena, and reduced the town to penury for want of men. The cathedral, which, had it been accomplished, would have surpassed all Gothic churches south of the Alps, remained a ruin. A fragment of the nave still stands, enabling us to judge of its extent. The eastern wall 47 joins what was to have been the transept, measuring the mighty space which would have been enclosed by marble vaults and columns delicately wrought.
In the burghers fancied it was too small for the fame and splendour of their city. So they decreed a new ecclesia pulcra, magna, et magnifica , for which the older but as yet unfinished building was to be the transept. One most remarkable feature of the internal decoration is a line of heads of the Popes carried all round the church above the lower arches.
Larger than life, white solemn faces they lean, each from his separate niche, crowned with the triple tiara, and labelled with the name he bore.
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Their accumulated majesty brings the whole past history of the Church into the presence of its living members. A bishop walking up the nave of Siena must feel as a Roman felt among the waxen images of ancestors renowned in council or in war. Of course these portraits are imaginary for the most part; but the artists have contrived to vary their features and expression with great skill. Not less peculiar to Siena is the pavement of the cathedral. It is inlaid with a kind of tarsia work in stone, setting forth a variety of pictures in simple but eminently effective mosaic.
Some of these compositions are as old as the cathedral; others are the work of Beccafumi and his scholars. Hermes Trismegistus and the Sibyls meet us at the doorway: in the body of the church we find the mighty deeds of the old Jewish heroes—of Moses and Samson and Joshua and Judith. Independently of the artistic beauty of the designs, of the skill 48 with which men and horses are drawn in the most difficult attitudes, of the dignity of some single figures, and of the vigour and simplicity of the larger compositions, a special interest attaches to this pavement in connection with the twelfth canto of the 'Purgatorio.
Yet when we read how he journeyed through the plain of Purgatory with eyes intent upon its storied floor, how 'morti i morti, e i vivi parean vivi,' how he saw 'Nimrod at the foot of his great work, confounded, gazing at the people who were proud with him,' we are irresistibly led to think of the Divine comedy.
The strong and simple outlines of the pavement correspond to the few words of the poet. Bending over these pictures and trying to learn their lesson, with the thought of Dante in our mind, the tones of an organ, singularly sweet and mellow, fall upon our ears, and we remember how he heard Te Deum sung within the gateway of repentance. Continuing our walk, we descend the hill on which the Duomo stands, and reach a valley lying between the ancient city of Siena and a western eminence crowned by the church of San Domenico. In this depression there has existed from old time a kind of suburb or separate district of the poorer people known by the name of the Contrada d' Oca.
To the Sienese it has especial interest, for here is the birthplace of S. Catherine, the very house in which she lived, her father's workshop, and the chapel which has been erected in commemoration of her saintly life.
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It is impossible 49 to conceive, even after the lapse of several centuries, that any of these relics are fictitious. Every particular of her life was remembered and recorded with scrupulous attention by devoted followers. Her fame was universal throughout Italy before her death; and the house from which she went forth to preach and heal the sick and comfort plague-stricken wretches whom kith and kin had left alone to die, was known and well beloved by all her citizens.
From the moment of her death it became, and has continued to be, the object of superstitious veneration to thousands.
From the little loggia which runs along one portion of its exterior may be seen the campanile and the dome of the cathedral; on the other side rises the huge brick church of San Domenico, in which she spent the long ecstatic hours that won for her the title of Christ's spouse. In a chapel attached to the church she watched and prayed, fasting and wrestling with the fiends of a disordered fancy.
There Christ appeared to her and gave her His own heart, there He administered to her the sacrament with His own hands, there she assumed the robe of poverty, and gave her Lord the silver cross and took from Him the crown of thorns. To some of us these legends may appear the flimsiest web of fiction: to others they may seem quite explicable by the laws of semi-morbid psychology; but to Catherine herself, her biographers, and her contemporaries, they were not so.