Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 03.djvu/345

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Bartolozzi
Bartolozzi
339

porated Society of Artists, and in 1769, on the foundation of the Royal Academy, he was made an original member. To this circumstance may be attributed the final rupture with Strange, an admirable artist and upright man, who, however, on this occasion showed temper in various foolish ways. It was characteristic of Bartolozzi to make no reply to these attacks. He was of an easy temper and very busy. From the time of his election as a member of the Royal Academy and afterwards there is little to relate. Mr. Andrew Tuer with loving care has contrived to pervade with some thin aroma as of the master the two appalling folios which tell inter alia of his life and works. But, indeed, there is little to tell. He worked early and late. He made money and spent it. He took snuff. He drank—some said more than enough; others that nature demanded his mild potations. He did not cease from work till he died, in 1815, at the age of eighty-eight. One result of his popularity was the formation of a large school, the members of which were proud to write themselves down his pupils. It was said that they got more from their master than ever he got from them. One injury at least they did him. Posterity will not distinguish between the rubbish of the pupil and the good work of the master. In illustration of the detrimental haste of his work towards the close of his life, it is sufficient to quote a passage from Redgrave: ‘Laborious, working early and late, he was generous and profuse in spending his gains, but he was without prudence, and made no provision for his latter days. His difficulties drove him to expedients to meet his expenses. The chalk manner afforded him facilities, and his studio became a mere manufactory of this class of art; plates were executed by many hands under his directions, which received only mere finishing touches by him, and his art was further vitiated and his talents wasted by the trifling class of works thus produced.’ Whether from want or from weariness is hardly to be told, but in 1802, moved perhaps by a promise of knighthood, he left this country to take charge of the National Academy at Lisbon, and there, on 7 March 1815, he died.

Mr. Tuer has collected probably all that at this date can be known about Bartolozzi; but the estimate that Mr. Tuer has formed of the engraver is, it need hardly be said, too favourable. If we speak of Bartolozzi as an engraver purely, it is hard to overpraise him; but it was of trifling things that he was the delightful and even exquisitely graceful designer. We must, however, remember in all estimation of him the taste of his time. The artists of the eighteenth century found inspiration in subjects of awful vapidity. It is on that account that we have from Bartolozzi's hand prints of ‘Cupid refusing Love to Desire,’ of ‘Venus recommending Hymen to Cupid,’ and many more not less sickly and absurd. But his work was never confined to these trifles. The hand that gave them what beauty they possess also gave our nation the prints after the Italian masters and Holbein, many masterpieces of line-engraving, and many harmless feasts of pleasure in fanciful slight designs. His enthusiastic and rather rhetorical biographer in Italy (Melchior Missirini) gives Bartolozzi a place among Italians which in England he may also claim: ‘Palladio was the architect of the Graces, Correggio the painter of the Graces, Metastasio the poet of the Graces, and Bartolozzi was their etcher.’

[Tibaldo's Biog. degli Ital. Illustri, vol. i. 1834; Nagler's Künstler-Lexicon, 1833; Rose's Biog. Dict. 1857; Biog. Universelle, 1843; Nouvelle Biog. Générale, 1853; Nichols's Literary Anecdotes; Gent. Mag. lvii. 876, lxxii. 1156, 1221, lxxv. 794, lxxviii. 1116, lxxx. (i.) 598, 662, lxxxiii. (i.) 179, lxxxviii. (i.) 377, (ii.) 11; Redgrave's Dict. of Eng. School; Tuer's Bartolozzi and his Works, 1882.]

E. R.

BARTOLOZZI, GAETANO STEFANO (1757–1821), engraver, the son of Francesco Bartolozzi [q. v.], was born in Rome in 1757, and inherited some of his father's talent, but his indolent disposition and Bohemian proclivities eventually marred his life. He was passionately fond of music, to which he devoted most of his time, to the neglect of his business as a printseller, so that he became involved in difficulties, and was obliged to sell his stock of prints, drawings, and copperplates, by auction at Christie's in 1797. He then went to Paris and opened a musical and fencing academy, which enabled him for some years to maintain a good position; but he afterwards drifted into poverty. His engravings are but few in number; they comprise portraits of Madame Récamier, after Cosway, and of Mrs. Rudd, who was tried for forgery in 1775, as well as six plates for the ‘British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits,’ 1822, and a study of a nude female figure, from a drawing by Annibale Carracci, for Ottley's ‘Italian School of Design.’ He died in London on 25 Aug. 1821. Madame Vestris, the celebrated comic actress, was his daughter.

[Redgrave's Dictionary of Artists, 1878; Tuer's Bartolozzi and his Works, 1882, i. 22–25.]

R. E. G.

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