Caylus, Anne Claude Philip De Tubiere De Grimoakd De Pestels De Levis, Count De

, a very celebrated amateur and patron of the arts, was horn at Paris Oct. 31, 1692. He was the eldest of the two sons of John, count de Caylus, lieutenant-general of the armies of the king of France, and of the marchioness de Villette. His ancestors were particularly distinguished in the twelfth century; and his mother was a descendant of the celebrated D’Aubigne, who was the friend and historian of Henry IV. His parents were particularly attentive to the education of their son. The father instructed him in the profession of arms, and in athletic“exercises, and his mother watched over and fostered the virtues of his mind, a delicate task, which she discharged with singular success. The countess was the niece of madame de Maintenon, and was remarkable for the solidity of her understanding, and the charms of her wit. She was the author of a pleasant miscellany, entitled” Mes Souvenirs," a collection of anecdotes of the court of Louis XIV. which her son used to relate to her to amuse her during her illness. She was ever careful to inspire her son with the love of truth, justice, and generosity, and with the nicest sentiments of honour. The amiable qualities and talents of the mother appeared in the son, but they appeared with a bold and masculine air. In his natural temper he was gay and sprightly, had a taste for pleasure, a strong passion for independence, and an invincible aversion to the servile etiquette and constrained manners of a court.

The count was only twelve years of age when his father died at Brussels, in Nov. 1704. After finishing his exercises, he entered into the corps of the Mousquetaires; and in his first campaign in 1709, he distinguished himself by his valour in such a manner, that Louis XIV. commended him in the presence of all the court; and rewarded his merit with an ensigncy in the gendarmerie. In 1711 he commanded a regiment of dragoons, which was called by his own name; and he signalized himself at the head of it in Catalonia. lu 1713, he was at the siege of Fribourg, | where he was exposed to imminent danger in the bloody attack of the covered way. Had he been disposed to enter into the views of his family, the favour of madame de Maintenon, and his own personal merit, could not fail to have raised him to the highest honours; but the peace of Rastade left him in a state of inactivity ill-suited to his natural temper.

His inclination soon led him to travel into Italy, although without perhaps any higher object than to pass some part of his time in variety, but his curiosity became powerfully excited by the wonders of that country, where antiquity produces so many objects to improve taste and excite admiration. The eyes of the count were not yet learned, but they were struck with the sight of so many beauties, and soon became acquainted with them. After a year’s absence, he returned to Paris, with so strong a passion for travelling, and for antiquities, as induced him to quit the army. Italy had enlightened his taste and in that country of the arts he perceived that he was born to cultivate them.

About eight months after, he set out for the Levant. When he arrived at Smyrna, he availed himself of a few days delay, and visited the ruins of Ephesus. It was in vain that the dangers attending a journey of this kind were represented to him. The formidable Caracayali had put himself at the head of a troop of robbers, and spread consternation over all Natolia, but our adventurer was superior to fear, and saved himself by a stratagem. Having procured a mean garb, and taking nothing with him that could attract attention, or tempt any robber, he put himself under the protection of two of Caracayali’s band, who had come from Smyrna. He made an agreement with them, but they were to have no money till they returned; and, as they had an interest in protecting and taking care of him, never were guides more faithful. They introduced him, with his interpreter, to their chief, who received him very graciously, and even assisted him in gratifying his curiosity. The chief informed him, that at no great distance, there were ruins worthy of being visited, and accommodated him with a pair of fine Arabian horses. The count soon found the ruins, which were those of Colophon. He was particularly struck with the remains of a theatre, the seats of which being scooped out of a hill that looks towards the sea, the spectator, beside the pleasure | of the representation^, enjoyed a delightful prospect. The next day he examined the site of the ancient Ephesus, which he has described in one of his Memoirs. He passed the streights of the Dardanelles to indulge himself with a view of those plains which make so rich and beautiful an appearance in Homer’s poems. He did not expect to meet with any yestiges of ancient Ilium; but he flattered himself with the hopes of walking on the banks of the Xanthus, and the Simois; these rivers, however, had disappeared. The vallies of Mount Ida, drenched with the blood of so many heroes, were now a dreary waste, scarce affording nourishment to a few puny oaks, whose branches crept upon the ground, and died almost as soon as they appeared.

From the Levant he was recalled in February 1717, by the tenderness of his mother, and from that time he never left France, unless to make two excursions to London. The countess de Caylus died in 1729, aged fifty-six. When the count settled at Paris, he applied himself to music, drawing, and painting. He wrote, too, some works of the lighter kind, but it was chiefly for the amusement of his friends; in these he discovered spirit and ingenuity, but did not aim at correctness or elegance of style. In order to judge of the works of art, he had taste, that instinct, says his eulogist, superior to study, surer than reasoning, and more rapid than reflection. With one glance of his eye, he %vas able to discover the defects and the beauties of every piece. The academy of painting and sculpture admitted him as an honorary member in 1731, and the count, who loved to realize titles, spared neither his labour, his credit, nor his fortune, to instruct, assist, and animate the artists. He wrote the lives of the most celebrated painters ^ind engravers that have done honour to this illustrious academy; and in order to extend the limits of the art, which seemed to him to move in too narrow a circle, he collected in three different works, new subjects for the painter, which he had met with in the works of the ancients. One of these, entitled “Tableaux tire’s de L‘lliade, et de L’Odysse d’Homere,” published in 1757, is mentioned by Dr. Warton in his “Essay on Pop,” in terms of praise. In this he has exhibited the whole series of events contained in these poems, arranged in their proper order has designed each piece, and disposed each figure with much taste and judgment. He | seems justly to wonder, that artists have so seldom had recourse to this great store-house of beautiful and noble images, so proper for the employment of their pencils, and delivered with so much force and distinctness, that the painter has nothing to do but to substitute his colours for the words of Homer. He complains that a haphael, and a Julio Romano, should copy thr crude and unnatural conceptions of Ovid’s Metamorpnoses, and Apuleius’s Ass; and that some of their sacred subjects were ill-chosen. Among the lew who borrowed their subjects from Homer, he mentions Bouchardon with the honour he deserves, and relates the anecdote which we have already given in the life of that sculptor.

The zeal of writers, who propose to instruct mankind, is not always disinterested; they pay themselves for their instructions by the reputation which they expect to derive from them. Count Caylus did not despise this noble recompense, but he loved the arts on their own account, as plainly appeared from the many private instances of his generosity to those who were possessed of talents, but were not the favourites of fortune; he even searched for such in those retreats where indigence kept them in obscurity. He anticipated their wants, for he had few himself; the whole of his luxury consisted in his liberality. Though his income was much inferior to his rank, he was rich for the artists; and when towards the close of his life, his fortune was increased by that of his uncle, the duke de Caylus, he added nothing to his expense, had no new wants, but employed the whole of his fortune for the benefit of literature and the arts. Besides the presents which he made from time to time to the academy of painting and sculpture, he founded an annual prize in it for such of the pupils as should succeed best in drawing, or modelling a head after nature, and in giving the truest expression of the characteristical features of a given passion. He encouraged the study of anatomy and perspective by generous rewards; and if he had lived longer, he would have ’executed the design which he had formed, of founding a new prize in. favour of those who should apply themselves with most success to these two essential branches of. the art.

Such was his passion for antiquity, that he wished to have had it in his power to bring the whole of it to life again. He saw with regret, that the works of the ancient painters, which have been discovered in our times, are | effaced and destroyed almost as soon as they are drawn from the subterraneous mansions where they were buried. A fortunate accident furnished him with the means of showing the composition and colouring of the pictures of ancient Rome. The coloured drawings, which the famous Pietro Santc Bartoli had taken there from antique paintings, happened to fall into his hands. He had them engraved, and, before he enriched the king of France’s cabinet with them, he gave an edition of them at his own expense. It is, perhaps, one of the most extraordinary books of antiquities that have ever appeared. The whole is painted with a precision and a purity that is inimitable. There were only thirty copies published, which, of course, bear a high price.

Count de Caylus was engaged at the same time in another enterprize, still more honourable for the Roman grandeur, and more interesting to the French nation. In, the last age, Des Godetz, under the auspices of Colbert, published the Antiquities of Rome. The work was admired by all Europe, and gave birth to that indefatigable emulation which carried able and ingenious travellers to Spalatra, Balbec, and even to the burning sands of Palmyra, in order to visit the famous ruins of so many magnificent buildings, and to present them to our view. It is this that has made us spectators of the monuments of Athens, that mother of learning, of arts, and sciences; where, in spite of the injuries of time and barbarism, so many illustrious sculptors and architects still live in the ruins of their edifices, in like manner as so many incomparable authors still breathe in the valuable fragments of their writings. The same Colbert had framed the design of engraving the Roman antiquities that are still to be seen in the southern provinces c c France. By his orders, Mignard, the architect, had made drawings of them, which count de Caylus had the good fortune to recover. He resolved to finish the work projected by Colbert, and to dedicate it to that great minister; and so much had he this glorious enterprize at heart, that he was employed in it during his last illness, and recommended it warmly to M. Mariette, by whom it was in part executed.

The confidence which all Europe placed in the knowledge and taste of count de Caylus, has contributed to decorate and embellish it. The powers of the north more than once consulted him, and referred the choice of artists | to him for the execution of great undertakings. It is to his protection that Bouchardon, the sculptor, so highly admired in France, was indebted for the noblest opportunities of displaying his talents; and to him Paris was indebted for those master-pieces of art which were once two of its noblest ornaments, the equestrian statue of Louis XV. and the fountain in the Rue de Crenelle.

He shunned honours, but wasdesirous of being admitted into the number of the honorary members of the royal academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres: he accordingly was admitted in 1742, and then it was that he seemed to have found the place which nature designed for him. The study of literature now became his ruling passion, to which he consecrated his time and his fortune; he even renounced his pleasures, to give himself up wholly to that of making some discovery in the vast field of antiquity. But he confined himself generally to the sphere of the arts. In consequence of his researches, says his eulogist, we know how the Egyptians embalmed their mummies, and converted the papyrus into leaves fit for receiving writing. He shows us how that patient and indefatigable people laboured for years at rocks of granite; we see the most enormous masses floating along the Nile for hundreds of leagues, and, by the efforts of an art almost as powerful as nature, advancing by land to the place destined for their reception. His knowledge of drawing enabled him to explain many passages in Pliny, which were obscure to those who were unacquainted with that art. He has developed, in several memoirs, those expressive and profound strokes which that wonderful author has employed, with an energetic brevity, to paint the talents of celebrated painters and sculptors. In Pausanias he found the pencil of Polygnotus, and the composition of those famous pieces of painting wherewith that illustrious artist decorated the portico oi Delphos. He rebuilt the theatre of Curio, and, under the <iirecvion of Pliny, shewed again that astonishing machine, and presented us with the view of the whole Roman people moving round upon a pivot. The rival of the most celebrated architects of Greece, without any other assistance than a passage of the same Pliny, he ventured to build anew the magnificent tomb of Mausolus, and to give to that wo-icier of the world its original ornaments and proportions.

But nothing seemed more flattering to him than his discovery of encaustic painting. A description of Pliny’s, | but too concise to give him a clear view of the matter, suggested the idea of it; and he availed himself of the friendship and skili of M. Majault, a physician in Paris, and an excellent chemist; and by repeated experiments, found out the secret of incorporating wax with differents tints and colours, of making it obedient to the pencil, and thus rendering paintings immortal. M. Muntz afterwards made many experiments to bring this art to perfection, and published in English a work entitled " Encaustic, or Count Caylus’s method of painting in the manner of the ancients. To which is added, a sure and easy method of fixing of Crayons, London, 1760, 8vo. The experience and practice of artists since have, however, proved that the discovery of the encaustic is more curious than useful where wax is employed.

Still, in the hands of count Caylus, literature and the arts lent each other a mutual aid, and in the course of his studies he contributed above forty dissertations to the Memoirs of the academy of inscriptions and belles lettres. Never was there an academician more zealous for the honour of the society to which he belonged. He was particularly attentive to the artists; and to prevent their falling into mistakes from an ignorance of costume, which the ablest of them have sometimes done, he founded a prize of jive hundred livres, the object of which is to explain, by means of authors and monuments, the usages of ancient nations; with this view it was that he collected, at a very great expence, antiquities of every kind. Nothing that was ancient seemed indifferent to him. Gods and reptiles, the richest metals, the most beautiful marble monuments, pieces of glass, fragments of earthen vases, in a word, every thing found a place in his cabinet. The entry to his house had the air and appearance of ancient Egypt: the first object that presented itself was a fine Egyptian statue, of five feet five inches; the stair-case was adorned with medallions and curiosities from China and America. In his apartment for antiques, he was seen surrounded with gods, priests, Egyptian magistrates, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans, with some Gaulic figures that seemed ashamed to shew themselves. When he wanted room he sent his whole colony to the royal depositary for antiques, and in a very little time his apartment illed with new inhabitants, who Hocked to him from different nations. This happened twice during his life; and | the third collection, in the midst of which he ended his days, was, by his orders, carried, after his death, to the same depository. In order that the world might partake of these treasures with him, he caused them to be engraved, with learned descriptions, in his valuable work “Recueil d‘Antiquites d’Egyptiennes, Etrusques, &c.” 7 vols. 4to, embellished with eight hundred plates.

His curiosity, though excessive, he was always careful to proportion to his income. He had too much pride to be burthensome to his friends. His name, which was known in every country where letters are respected, procured him a great number of correspondents. All the antiquaries, those who thought themselves such, and those who were desirous of being thought such, were ambitious of corresponding with him. They flattered themselves they were entitled to the character of learned men when they could show a letter from count Calus; “c’etoit pour eux,” says the author of his eloge, “un brevet d’antiquaire.” His literary talents were embellished with an inexhaustible fund of natural goodness, an inviolable zeal for the honour of his prince and the welfare of his country, an unaffected and genuine politeness, rigorous probity, a generous disdain of flatterers, the warmest compassion for the wretched and the indigent, the greatest simplicity of character, and the utmost sensibility of friendship.

The strength of his constitution seemed to give him hopes of a long life: but in the month of July, 1764, a humour settled in one of his legs, which entirely destroyed his health. Whilst he was obliged to keep his bed he seemed less affected by what he suffered, than with the restraint upon his natural activity. When the wound was closed he resumed his usual occupations with great eagerness, visited his friends, and animated the labours of the artists, while he himself was dying. Carried in the arms of his domestics, he seemed to leave a portion of his life in every place he went to. He expired Sept. 5, 1765. By his death his family became extinct, and literary France lost one of her greatest benefactors. He was interred in the chapel of St. Germain L’Auxerrois, where his tomb was that of an antiquary. It was a sepulchral antique, of the most beautiful porphyry, with ornaments in the Egyptian taste. From the moment that he had procured it he had destined it to grace the place of his interment. While he awaited the fatal hour, he placed it in his garden, | where he used to look upon it with a tranquil, but thoughtful eye, and pointed it out to the inspection of his friends. He has even given a description of it in the 7th volume of his Antiquities, which was published after his death by Le Beau, to whom we owe this interesting account of him. Count Caylus’s character is to be traced in the different occupations which divided his cares and his life. In society he had all the frankness of a soldier, and a politeness which had nothing in it of deceit or circumvention. Born independent, he applied to studies which suited his taste. His disposition was yet better than his abilities; the former made him beloved, the latter entitled him to respect. Many anecdotes are related of his charity and humanity, and particularly of his generous patronage of rising merit; but this article has already extended to its full proportion, and we must refer to our authorities for more minute particulars.

The works of count Caylus, besides those already mentioned are, 1. “Nouveaux Sujetsde Peintureetde Sculpture,1755, 12mo. 2. “Mcmoires sur la peinture a Pencaustique,1755, 8vo. 3. “Description d‘un tableau representant le Sacrifice d’Jpbigenie,1757, 12mo. 4. “Histoire d’Hercule le Thebain,” taken from different authors, 1758, 8vo. 5. “Discours sur les Peintures Antiques.” 6. “The Lives of Mignard, Le Moine, and Bouchardon.” He wrote also some “Romances” and “Tales” during his hours of relaxation, which were in general well received, and have more spirit and humour than we should expect from a professed, and we may add, an incessant antiquary. 1


Hist de L' Academic Royale, &c." vol. XXXIV. translated partly in the Month. Rev. 1772, and partly in the Ann. Reg. Warton’s Essay on Pope. —Dict. Hist.Saxii Onomast where is a list of the papers he contributed to the Memoirs of the Academy.

Errata. P. 113, line 14, omit, not.

P. 204, line 24, read Cafilupi.