Palma, Jacob

, the Young, so called in contradistinction of the preceding Jacob, his great-uncle,^ may be considered as the last master of the good, and the first of the bad period of art at Venice. Born in 1544, he left the scanty rudiments of his father Antonio, a weak painter, to study the works of Titian, and particularly those of Tintoretto, whose spirit and slender disengaged forms were congenial to his own taste. At the age of fifteen he was taken under the protection of the duke of Urbino, carried to that capital, and for eight years maintained at Rome, where, by copying the antique, Michael Angelo, Raphael, and more than all, Polidoro, he acquired ideas of correctness, style, and effect: these he endeavoured to embody in the first works which he produced after his return to Venice, and there are who have discovered in them an union of the best maxims of the Roman and Venetian schools: they are all executed with a certain facility which is the great talent of this master, but a talent as dangerous in painting as in poetry. He was not, however, successful in his endeavours to procure adequate employment: the posts of honour and emolument were occupied by Tintoretto and Paul Veronese, and he owed his consideration as the third in rank to the patronage of Vittoria, a fashionable architect, sculptor, and at that time supreme umpire of commissions: he, piqued at the slights of Paul and Robusti, took it into his head to favour Palma, to assist him with his advice, and to establish his name. Bernini is said to have done the same at Rome, in favour of Pietro da Cortona and others, against Sacchi, to the destruction of the art; and, adds Mr. Fuseli, as men and passions resemble each other in all ages, the same will probably be related of some fashionable architect of our times. | Palma, overwhelmed by commissions, soon relaxed frdnl his womed diligence; and his carelessness increased when, at the death of his former competitors, and of Leonardo Corona, his new rival, he found himself alone and in possession of the field. His pictures, as Cesare d’Arpino told him, were seldom more than sketches; sometimes, indeed, when time and price were left to his own discretion, in which he did not abound, he produced some work worthy of his former fame; such as the altar-piece at S. Cosmo and Datniano; the celebrated Naval Battle of Francesco Bembo in the public palace; the S. Apolloniaat Cremona; St. Ubaldo and the Nunziata at Pesaro; the Finding of the Cross at Urbino: works partly unknown to Ridolfi, but of rich composition, full of beauties, variety, and expression. His tints fresh, sweet, and transparent, less gay than those of Paul, but livelier than those of Tintoretto, though slightly laid on, still preserve their bloom. In vivacity of expression he is not much inferior to either of those masters; and his Plague of the Serpents at St. Bartolomeo may vie for features, gestures, and hues of horror, with the same subject by Tintoretto in the school of St. Rocco: but none of his pictures are without some commendable part; and it surprises that a man, from whom the depravation of style may be dated in Venice, as from Vasari at Florence, and Zuccari at Rome, should still preserve so many charms of nature and art to attract the eye and interest the heart. He died in 1628, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. 1


Pilkington. D’Argenville, vol. I.