Arpino, Joseph D'

, the son of a painter named Cesari at Arpino, was born at Rome in 1560. While yet in | his 13th year his father placed him with the artists employed by Gregory XIII. in painting the lodges of the Vatican, whom he served in the humble employment of preparing their pallets and colours. But, in this situation he discovered such talents, that the pope gave orders to pay him a golden crown per day so long as he continued to work in the Vatican. Pope Clement VIII. distinguished him by adding new and higher favours to those of Gregory XIII. He made him chevalier of the order of Christ, and appointed him director of St. John de Lateran. In 1600 he followed the cardinal Aldobrandini, who was sent legate on occasion of the marriage of Henry IV. with Mary de Medicis. Caravagio, his enemy and his rival, having attacked him, Arpino refused to fight him because he was not a knight, and in order to remove this obstacle, Caravagio was obliged to go to Malta to be admitted chevalierservant. Arpino wanted likewise to measure swords with Annibal Carachio, but the latter, with becoming contempt, took a pencil in his hand, and, shewing it to him, said, “With this weapon I defy you.” Arpino died at Rome in 1640, at the age of four-score. He was among painters what Marino was among poets, born to dazzle and to seduce, and both met with a public prepared to prefer glitter to reality. He is said to have conducted some of his first pictures from designs of Michel Angelo, but it was less their solidity that made him a favourite, than the facility, the fire, the crash, and the crowds, that filled his compositions. The horses which he drew with great felicity, the decisive touch that marked his faces, pleased all; few but artists could distinguish manner from style, and them his popularity defied. The long course of his practice was distinguished by two methods, in fresco and in oil. The first, rich, vigorous, amene, and animated, has sufficient beauties to balance its faults; it distinguishes, with several altar-pieces, his two first frescos in the Campidoglio, the Birth of Romulus, and the Battle of the Sabines; and with this class might be numbered some of his smaller works, with lights in gold, and exquisitely finished; this method, however, soon gave way to the second, whose real principle was dispatch, free but loose and negligent; in this he less finished than sketched, with numberless other works, the remainder of the frescos in the Campidoglio, forty years after the two first. He reared a numerous school, distinguished by little more than the barefaced | imitation of his faults, and a brother Bernardino Cesari, who was an excellent copyist of the designs of Michel Angelo, but died young. Among painters he is sometimes known by the name of II Cavalier d’Arpino, and sometimes by that of Josephin. Mr. Fuseli has given the above character of him under that of Cesari. 1


Pilkington’s Dict. Abrege de Vies cles Peintres. —Moreri in art. Pin. Joseph.