Saturday, May 06, 2006

Mr Coesvelt's pictures

June l8th.—Went to see Mr. Coesvelt's pictures, and return convinced that, for my own pleasure, I should prefer that to any collection I know in London; perhaps one reason is that it is so entirely Italian; another is that, among the pictures, there is not one of which the subject is disagreeable; no disgusting nudity, no painful martyrdom, &c. &c.

He has both increased and diminished the collection since I saw it in Brook Street, four or five years ago. He has two or three very fine Raphael's; one that I am inclined to place higher than any one I know in England; that is from the Alva collection. There is an Infant St. John, whose look of pure intense adoration towards the Infant Christ is finer than almost anything I know.

I should say that Parmegiano is here on his throne; that here I have learnt to value him more highly than I have ever done before. Still I do not like his large pictures as well as the smaller ones; there is one large one recently added to the collection, which Mr. Coesvelt values very highly, but which I think a rather French and maniere Parmegiano.

A few days afterwards I went to see the King's pictures, and felt that they lost much by comparison with Mr. Coesvelt's. Perhaps their inferiority in my eyes would be expressed in a very few words—their boast is Flemish Mr. Coesvelt's pictures are all Italian.*

Editor's Note
* This collection has been sold and dispersed.

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