Men I Have Painted/Cardinal Manning

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Hamilton Men I Have Painted 088f Cardinal Manning.jpg


I SUCCEEDED in obtaining a drawing in pastel of Cardinal Manning which I was induced to part with to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, to my great regret, and which I have offered to repurchase.

The Cardinal was one of my best and most amiable sitters. While I worked, he read his breviary, or chatted with me upon many of the social and economic topics of the day. How futile such discussions are can only be realized after a lapse of twenty years, when changes have taken place that alter radically one's conception of details—the underlying principles only remaining unchanged.

Cardinal Manning was a tall, picturesque ecclesiastic, very careless in dress, with an exceedingly small face but a wide and prominent forehead. On one occasion when he was lecturing, he told me, a man up in the gallery, looking down upon him, and seeing his face foreshortened, called out in a voice that he and all could hear, "Why, he has no face; he's all forehead!"

"The only time a man should look in a mirror is when he is shaving," the Cardinal continued; and I thought to myself that, in his case, to avoid the sin of vanity, he considered once a week sufficient. He did not look on the reverse of the picture; for some people suffer agonies of remorse and self-abasement when they look into mirrors.

The Cardinal did not consider sitting for a portrait so vain an act as looking into a mirror. He consented to be painted with great goodwill, and enlivened the hours by anecdotes of paintings and painters. There were three kinds of portrait painters, he thought—those who paint you as they think they see you, those who paint you as they think they ought to see you, and those who paint you as you are. He had given sittings to George F. Watts, who belonged to the second class, and who had painted him "as he thought he ought to do."