THE FOURTH MORNING. THE VAULTED BOOK.
D E F G
A, Charity; flames issuing from her head and hands. B, Faith; holds cross and shield, quenching fiery darts. This symbol, so frequent in modern adaptation from St. Paul's address to personal faith, is rare in older art. C, Hope, with a branch of lilies. D, Temperance; bridles a black fish, on which she stands. E, Prudence, with a book. F, Justice, with crown and baton. G, Fortitude, with tower and sword.
Under these are the great prophets and apostles; on the left,[Footnote: I can't find my note of the first one on the left; answering to Solomon, opposite.] David, St. Paul, St. Mark, St. John; on the right, St. Matthew, St. Luke, Moses, Isaiah, Solomon. In the midst of the Evangelists, St. Thomas Aquinas, seated on a Gothic throne.
Now observe, this throne, with all the canopies below it, and the complete representation of the Duomo of Florence opposite, are of finished Gothic of Orecagna's school - later than Giotto's Gothic. But the building in which the apostles are gathered at the Pentecost is of the early Romanesque mosaic school, with a wheel window from the duomo of Assisi, and square windows from the Baptistery of Florence. And this is always the type of architecture used by Taddeo Gaddi: while the finished Gothic could not possibly have been drawn by him, but is absolute evidence of the later hand.
Under the line of prophets, as powers summoned by their voices, are the mythic figures of the seven theological or spiritual, and the seven ge_ological or natural sciences: and under the feet of each of them, the figure of its Captain-teacher to the world.
I had better perhaps give you the names of this entire series of figures from left to right at once. You will see presently why they are numbered in a reverse order.
Beneath whom 8. Civil Law. The Emperor Justinian. 9. Canon Law. Pope Clement V. 10. Practical Theology. Peter Lombard. 11. Contemplative Theology. Dionysius the Areopagite. 12. Dogmatic Theology. Boethius. 13. Mystic Theology. St. John Damascene. 14. Polemic Theology. St. Augustine. 7. Arithmetic. Pythagoras. 6. Geometry. Euclid. 5. Astronomy. Zoroaster. 4. Music. Tubalcain. 3. Logic. Aristotle. 2. Rhetoric. Cicero. 1. Grammar. Priscian.
Here, then, you have pictorially represented, the system of manly education, supposed in old Florence to be that necessarily instituted in great earthly kingdoms or republics, animated by the Spirit shed down upon the world at Pentecost. How long do you think it will take you, or ought to take, to see such a picture? We were to get to work this morning, as early as might be: you have probably allowed half an hour for Santa Maria Novella; half an hour for San Lorenzo; an hour for the museum of sculpture at the Bargello; an hour for shopping; and then it will be lunch time, and you mustn't be late, because you are to leave by the afternoon train, and must positively be in Rome to-morrow morning. Well, of your half-hour for Santa Maria Novella, - after Ghirlandajo's choir, Orcagna's transept, and Cimabue's Madonna, and the painted windows, have been seen properly, there will remain, suppose, at the utmost, a quarter of an hour for the Spanish Chapel. That will give you two minutes and a half for each side, two for the ceiling, and three for studying Murray's explanations or mine. Two minutes and a half you have got, then - (and I observed, during my five weeks' work in the chapel, that English visitors seldom gave so much) - to read this scheme given you by Simon Memmi of human spiritual education. In order to understand the purport of it, in any the smallest degree, you must summon to your memory, in the course of these two minutes and a half, what you happen to be acquainted with of the doctrines and characters of Pythagoras, Zoroaster, Aristotle, Dionysius the Areopagite, St. Augustine, and the emperor Justinian, and having further observed the expressions and actions attributed by the painter to these personages, judge how far he has succeeded in reaching a true and worthy ideal of them, and how large or how subordinate a part in his general scheme of human learning he supposes their peculiar doctrines properly to occupy. For myself, being, to my much sorrow, now an old person; and, to my much pride, an old-fashioned one, I have not found my powers either of reading or memory in the least increased by any of Mr. Stephenson's or Mr. Wheatstone's inventions; and though indeed I came here from Lucca in three hours instead of a day, which it used to take, I do not think myself able, on that account, to see any picture in Florence in less time than it took formerly, or even obliged to hurry myself in any investigations connected with it.