Cardi, Lewis

, called also Cigoli and Civolt, an eminent painter, was born in 1559, at the castle of Cigoli, in Tuscany, and became the scholar of Santi di Titi, but after travelling into Lombardy, studied the works of the first masters, and particularly Correggio. He had some taste, also, for poetry and music, but soon became exclusively attached to his particular art. He was employed by the grand duke in the palace Pitti, and afterwards at Rome and Florence exhibited some excellent specimens of his genius. He gave a new style to the Florentine school; but to say that perhaps he was superior to all his contemporaries, that he approached nearer than any other the style of Correggio, are expressions of Baldinucci, which none will believe who has seen the imitations of that master by Baroccio, the Caracci, or Schidone. Cardi, to judge from his pictures as they are now, availed himself with success of Correggio’s chiaroscuro, joined it to learning in design, and set it off by judicious perspective and a far livelier colour than that of the Tuscan school; but his pictures do not exhibit that contrast of tints, that impasto, that splendour, that graceful air, those bold fore-shortenings, which constitute the character of the. heads of Lombard art. In short, he was the inventor of an original but not a steady style; that which he adopted at Rome differs from his former one. If the general tone of his colour be Lembardesque, his draperies resemble those of Paolo Veronese, and sometimes he approaches the depth of Guercino.

Besides the many pictures which the grand duke and the Pecori family possess of this master, a few are dispersed through private collections at Florence. Excellent are his “Trinity” in the church of St. Croce, his “St. Albert” in that of S. Maria Maggiore, and the “Martyrdom of Stephen” at the Sisters of Monte Domini, which Pietro da Cortona ranked with the principal pictures of Florence. *' St. Anthony converting a Heretic,“at Cortona, is considered as superior to any other pencil at Cortona. His” St. Peter healing the Cripple,“in the Vatican at Rome, | Andrea Sacchi placed next the” Transfiguration“of Raphael, and the” St. Jeromof Domenichino; but this master-piece, by the humidity of the place, the bad priming, and the brutality of the cleaner, is entirely destroyed. Its merit procured him the-” title of Cavaliere. Another work of his, the fresco of the dome in S. Maria Maggiore, still remains: in this, by some error in perspective, he appeared inferior to himself; it displeased, and he was not suffered to correct it, notwithstanding his eager supplications; but had this perished, and the picture in the Vatican survived, the fame of Cigoli would rest on a firmer basis, and the assertions of Baldinucci deserve more credit. It is supposed that chagrin at not succeeding in painting the dome, hastened his death, which happened in 1613. He also engraved a few plates in a slight, neat stylej which, however, evinces the hand of the master. Strutt mentions his engraving of “Mary Magdalen washing the feet of Christ,” as containing heads of great beauty. 1


Argenville, vol. I. Pilkington.