Schiavonetti, Lewis

, a very ingenious artist, was born at Bassano, in the Venetian territory, April 1, 1765. His father was a stationer, who was enabled to give him a useful, but limited education. From his infancy he had a peculiar taste for drawing; and attained such proficiency, that an able painter, Julius Golini, to whom some of his productions were shewn, undertook to instruct him in that art. At the age of thirteen Lewis was put under his care, and the high opinion he had formed of the hoy’s genius was confirmed by the rapid progress he made, while his amiahle disposition endeared him so much, that he loved him as his own son* After three years of useful instruction, he had the misfortune to lose this master, who expired in his arms. | Left to pursue his own course, he turned his views to Count Remaudini, whose extensive typographical and chalcographical concern is rendered more famous by the giving employment to Bartolozzi and Volpato; and the works of those artists gave fresh impulse to the youth’s ardour for improvement. About this time he became acquainted with one Lorio, an indifferent engraver, with whom he worked about twelve months, when, finding he bad exhausted his fund of instructions, he resolved to alter his situation. A copy of a holy family in the line manner, from Bartolozzi, after Carlo Maratta, gained him immediate employment from Count Remaudini, and attracted the notice of Mr. Suntach, an engraver and printseller in opposition to Remaudini. About this time came to Bassano a wretched engraver of architecture, but a man of consummate craft ancf address. He became acquainted with Schiavonetti at Mr. Sumach’s, and was ultimately the means of bringing him to England, where he became acquainted with Bartolozzi, and lived in his house until he established himself on his own foundation; after which Schiavonetti cultivated his genius with a success; that answered the expectations which vtere first formed‘ of it, and conducted all his affairs with an uprightness and integrity that will cause his memory to be equally revered as a gentleman and an artist. He died at Bromptoiv June 7, 1810, in the forty-fourth year of his age; and on the -14-th was buried in Paddington church-yard, with a solemnity worthy of his talents and character.

In his person, Mr. Schiavonetti was rather ’ tall, and well made, and his amiable modesty, equability of temper, ancj promptness to oblige, won the good will of all who saw and conversed with him. Many acts of his private life showed the excellence of his character; among others, as soon as he began to derive profit from his profession, he devoted a portion of it to the support of his relatives in Italy; and constantly remitted to his aged parent a stipend sufficient to ensure him comfort. suo

Some of his principal performances are, the “Madre Dolorosa,” after Vandyke the Portrait of that Master in the character of Paris Michael Angelo’s celebrated Cartoon of the Surprize of the Soldiers on the Banks of the Arno a series of Etchings, from designs by Blake, illustrative of Blair’s Grave: the Portrait of Mr. Blake, after Phillips, for the same work: the Landing of the British Troops in Egypt, from Loutherbourg; and the Etching of the Pilgrimage, from Stotbard’s esteemed picture. | There is no circumstance which more forcibly shews Mr. Schiavonetti’s power of delineation, than his print from the Cartoon, considering the disadvantages under which he produced it. He had neither the benefit of an original, or an authentic copy, but engraved after a copy painted by H. Howard, II. A. from Sangallo’s copy of his own study of Michael Angelo’s Cartoon. The work of the “Canterbury Pilgrims” being no farther advanced than the etched state, is another and still more striking example of his powers as a draughtsman; every line is expressive of the object it aims to represent. This is the last great work of Mr, Schiavonetti’s hand. From his own avowal in conversation at various times since he undertook it, and even during his last illness, it was a performance on which he meant to concentrate all his powers, and to build his reputation. He had, however, others in view, particularly a portrait of the president of the Royal Society, from a picture by Mr. Phillips, and the splendid representation of the Stag Hunt, by Mr. West, in which Alexander III. king of Scotland was rescued from the fury of a stag by Colin Fitzgerald. Schiavonetti, in the opinion of his biographer, classes with Gerard Audran, with Edelinck, Strange, and Woollett. He not only possessed the powers of delineation, the harmony of lines, the union in tones and in a general effect, which severally distinguish these eminent men; but he added a brilliancy and playful movement to his productions, approaching more nearly to the free pencilling of the painter, than any thing that can be found in the performances of those artists. 1


Life by a brother artist, Cromer, in —Gent. Mag. vol. LXXX.